CHI00LA176
CHI00LA176

On June 29, 2000, at approximately 0800 central daylight time, a Beech B200 Super King Air, N780CA, piloted by an airline transport pilot, sustained substantial damage during an emergency landing and overrun on runway 12 (2,940 feet by 100 feet, asphalt), at the Joliet Regional Airport, Joliet, Illinois, following a total loss of engine power in cruise. The business flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and was operating on an Instrument Flight Rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot and two passengers reported no injuries; two passengers reported minor injuries. The flight departed the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport, Kaiser Lake Ozark, Missouri at 0710, en route to the Lewis University Airport, Romeoville, Illinois.

According to a statement by the pilot, he requested Executive Beechcraft at the Kansas City Airport to fill the main fuel tanks on 780CA the night before the accident flight, but made no instructions for filling the auxiliary fuel tanks.

A statement by Executive Beechcraft states, "According to our records we did not fuel King Air 200 Registered N780CA on June 29, 2000."

The pilot reported, "I then checked the fuel quantity gauges for the main fuel tanks...the fuel quantity gauge indicated just about a needle width above 1100 pounds of fuel, and the fuel quantity gauge for the right main tank indicated almost 1150 pounds of fuel. I then checked the fuel quantity gauges for the auxiliary tanks by selecting the fuel quantity switch to 'auxiliary'...the fuel gauges indicated just above -0- on the left auxiliary fuel tank gauge and just below the -0- on the right auxiliary fuel tank gauge. (The fuel quantity gauge needles should have indicated between 1225 pounds of fuel and 1275 pounds of fuel in each main tank.)"

"For the past three years, July 1, 1997 to June 30, 2000, we have documented the history in N780CA's...maintenance logbooks of the erratic and unpredictable behavior of both the main and auxiliary fuel quantity indicators! Repairs conducted in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended specifications to effect a permanent fix of these irregular fuel quantity indications have not been successful."

The pilot continued, "Deja vu. A little over a year ago I was scheduled to pick up our folks in Chicago for a day trip. I called in my fuel order to Executive Beechcraft...ramp and top the mains." [fill the main tanks with fuel]

..."Leveling at 5000 feet MSL [mean sea level] heading NE [northeast], my cruise check found the main fuel gauges had gone to about 600 pounds indicated in the left main fuel tank and just above the yellow caution fuel markings for the right main fuel tank. I didn't know what to believe...gauges were unreliable. Did I have a capacitance problem with the fuel gauges, or had Executive Beechcraft forgot to fill my fuel order...again?"

"After landing, I taxied to the West side of the airport where we have hangar space rented and I can find [mechanic], my mechanic. ([Mechanic] holds A&P [airframe and powerplant] and the IA [inspection authorization] licenses. [Mechanic] is also a commercial, multi-engine rated pilot.) I was really in a foul mood. I asked [mechanic] to check out the fuel gauges as fast as he was capable of doing and get me on my way to Chicago. [Mechanic] made the comment that we should first check and see how much fuel EB [Executive Beechcraft] had put onboard when they topped off the mains. Surprise...EB had not fueled N180CA [accident aircraft] as requested per my fuel order. They had no record of my request. I went ballistic!!! We have a screwed up fuel measurement system that we have been trying to fix in accordance with instructions from the manufacturer, and now I can't trust EB to fill my fuel orders. (I've caught EB twice in 2000 NOT FILLING my fuel orders...'it wasn't written down on our ramp list'.)"

The pilot stated that while 19 nm from the Lewis University Airport (LOT), he felt a surge on the right engine. The pilot secured and feathered the right engine. While continuing the descent to LOT the left engine surged. According to the pilot, "I knew right then and there that I had some type of a fuel condition problem...and it was confirmed when I checked the fuel gauges again and saw the fuel quantity needles in the yellow fuel caution range! N780CA was out of fuel...."

The pilot attempted to land on runway 12 at Joliet, but was unable to stop the aircraft on the available runway surface. The aircraft ran off the end of the runway into a ravine that is situated at the end of runway 12.

Approximately five gallons of a fuel like substance was drained from the aircraft in a post-accident examination.

The manufacturer tested the fuel quantity gauges. According to a report by the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector who oversaw the test, "The first procedure was to test the indicators in their arrival state. Both indicators were checked for main tank channel [main fuel tank quantity indications] accuracy and auxiliary tank channel [auxiliary fuel tank quantity indications] accuracy. Both indicators tested within tolerance or very close to tolerance on the main channel. However, both indicators were considerably off on the auxiliary channel. Indicator, [left fuel quantity gauge] showed 282.67 lbs. [pounds of fuel] high at the '0' and '300' lbs. check points. Indicator, [right fuel quantity gauge] showed 273.3 lbs. high at the '0' and '300' lbs. check points. These are the only two check points that are checked on the auxiliary channel."

"The indicators were then put through the complete test and calibration procedures. Both indicators were able to be calibrated and passed all test procedures with no abnormalities noted."

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