FTW04LA071
FTW04LA071

On February 8, 2004, approximately 1415 central standard time, a Beech BE-23 single-engine airplane, N234DD, was substantially damaged during a forced landing shortly after take off from Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport (M39), near Mena, Arkansas. The airline transport rated pilot/owner, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 ferry flight destined for the Ellington Airport (EFD), near Houston, Texas.

The 5,625-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), that he purchased the aircraft used and since it was out of annual, he had the owner inspect the aircraft and obtain a ferry permit. The pilot added that on the day of the flight, he preformed an "extensive" pre-flight of the aircraft, topped off the fuel tanks, did an engine run-up, and took off from runway 17 without incident. While climbing out, the pilot reported that the engine lost power, and he made an immediate turn towards the runway. The pilot stated that the aircraft landed short of the runway in some small trees and brush.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-scene examination of the airplane. According to the inspector, after takeoff from runway 17 (a 6,000-foot-long and 100-foot-wide asphalt runway), the pilot made a left downwind departure and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 feet above ground level (agl), when the engine lost power. The pilot attempted to re-start the engine, but was unsuccessful. He turned left and aligned the airplane with the runway while descending. The pilot flew along the length of the runway, but never landed. As the airplane approached the end of the runway, he aligned the airplane with a taxiway, but decided to turn and land in an open clearing, where it struck trees and power lines.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the tail section was partially separated, and both wings exhibited extensive leading edge damage. Both fuel tanks were ruptured, and all fuel screens were absent of debris.

The engine was run on the airframe with the original bent propeller still installed. Since the airplane's fuel tanks were ruptured, an alternate fuel source was rigged to provide fuel to the engine. The engine started immediately, but only ran for five minutes. Another propeller was installed, and the engine was started. It ran continuously at various power settings without interruption. No mechanical deficiencies were noted.

The airplane had just been recently purchased, was out of annual inspection, and was being ferried to Houston, where it was scheduled to undergo an annual inspection. The FAA issued the ferry permit based on the belief that the airplane had undergone an annual inspection over a year ago. Further examination revealed that the airplane had not received an annual inspection since 1988.

Weather at M39 at the time of the accident was reported as wind from 180 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, and clear skies.

The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

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