On August 5, 2001, at 2039 central daylight time, a Beech model 23, N2367J, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during initial climb after takeoff from runway 24 (3,898 feet by 75 feet), at the West Bend Municipal Airport, West Bend, Wisconsin. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions and was not on a flight plan. The pilot and his one passenger received minor injuries. The local flight originated at about 2000.

A postaccident examination of the aircraft was conducted. The left wing fuel tank was compromised. The right wing fuel tank was intact. Fuel could not be seen in the right fuel tank by visual inspection through the fuel filler opening. Fuel was found in the carburetor fuel bowl. The fuel selector valve was found with the selector positioned for the right wing fuel tank. Four gallons of fuel were added to the right wing fuel tank and an engine run performed. The engine was run from idle to 1,500 RPM and no anomalies were noted. No anomalies were found that could be associated with a preexisting condition.

The pilot said, in a written statement, that he was returning from a 30 minute flight and was performing a touch and go. He said that on the takeoff portion of the touch and go, he experienced a complete loss of engine power approximately 200 feet AGL. He said, "There were several popping sounds from the engine before it quit. I tried to restart but had no success. I chose a relatively open spot in front of me and did my best to keep the aircraft under control. At about 10 feet AGL the left wing contacted a tree. This spun the aircraft sharply and the aircraft landed flat."

The pilot stated to a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector that he began the flight with 10 gallons of fuel in each wing tank. In his written report, the pilot indicated that there were 20 gallons of fuel on board at the last takeoff.

The "Pilot's Operating Handbook and FAA Approved Airplane Flight Manual" for the aircraft states in Section II;


Do not take off when the Fuel Quantity Gages indicate in
the *Yellow Band or with less than 11 gallons in each main

Maximum slip duration: 30 seconds

*Yellow band was installed by BEECHCRAFT S.I. No. 0624-281.

It was found during the postaccident examination of the aircraft that the fuel quantity gages were not marked with yellow bands.

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