On October 24, 2000, at 1404 mountain standard time, a Beech 35B33, N8587M, made a power-off landing in rough terrain near Bullhead City, Arizona. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries and his wife sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal flight departed Hebren Overguard Airpark, Arizona, about 1200 en route to Henderson, Nevada. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot was abeam the Laughlin/Bullhead Airport (IFP) in cruise at 4,500 feet when the engine lost power. The pilot said he completed emergency procedures, but was unable to restart the engine.
A review of recorded radio transmissions revealed that the pilot notified the Laughlin/Bullhead Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) that he was experiencing engine problems at 1400. He reported that he was overhead the north side of the airport at 3,200 feet. He said that he had lost his engine and would have to make a dead stick landing. He said he was making a left downwind for runway 16. The airplane landed about 1/2 mile short of the runway in rough terrain, which resulted in substantial damage.
Investigators examined the airplane and engine at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on November 28, 2000. The wings had been removed during recovery. The recovery agent reported that he drained about 8 ounces of fuel from the left wing, and 28 gallons of fuel from the right wing. Each tank held 40 gallons (37 gallons useable) of fuel. The agent said the landing gear and flaps were down.
The propeller separated from the crankshaft aft of the propeller flange. The fracture surface was angular and rough. Investigators removed the top spark plugs. The electrodes were uniform in appearance. They were slightly elliptical and gray, which corresponded to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart. Investigators removed the valve covers and manually rotated the engine. They obtained thumb compression on all cylinders; the valves moved in sequence and all appeared to have the same lift; the accessories rotated freely; and all ignition leads sparked.
The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were at the full in position. They all operated stiffly through their full range of motion. The fuel tanks were not compromised and the vents were open. The fuel tanks did not have placards, but the fuel selector valve said 37 gallons on each tank.
The boost pump switch was in the off position. The fuel selector valve was at an intermediate position about 0.5 inches clockwise from the right tank position. Investigators connected an auxiliary battery to the airplane battery and hooked up a fuel supply to the right wing fuel line. They disconnected the fuel inlet line to the fuel manifold distribution valve. With the mixture and throttle levers full in, there was no fuel flow. They turned the electric boost pump on and a steady stream of fuel spurt out. The fuel flow gauge showed less than 5 gallons per hour initially, but peaked at 16 gallons per hour.
The owner's manual discussed the procedures to follow in the event of an engine failure. It directed pilots who experienced a loss of engine power to: switch fuel tanks, switch on the boost pump, open the throttle about 1/2 inch beyond the present setting, mixture to full rich, propeller to full high rpm, ignition switch to BOTH, and battery/generator switches to ON.