ATL06CA131
ATL06CA131

On September 29, 2006, at 1210 eastern standard time, a Beech A36, N69PM, registered to Bienvee LLC, and operated by a private owner as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, lost engine power and made a forced landing on interstate 75 (I-75) near Macon, Georgia. The airplane received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The commercial rated pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The flight departed Hernando County Airport, Brooksville, Florida, on September 29, 2006, at 1018.

The pilot stated that he was at cruise flight at 8,000 feet when he was instructed by Atlanta Approach Control to descend and maintain 6,000 feet. The pilot began the descent by reducing the manifold pressure to 18 inches. As the airplane descended, the pilot turned the mixture control clockwise (rich) to maintain a fuel consumption of 14 gph. At 6,500, feet the engine began to run rough and stopped. The pilot immediately switched fuel tanks and began "to experiment with the manifold pressure knob and mixture knobs by pushing them in and out to see if the engine would run again." As the airplane continued to lose altitude, the pilot advised controller that he had an engine failure and needed to be radar vectored to the nearest airport. Air Traffic Control advised the pilot that the Macon Downtown Airport would be the closest airport, and to turn to a heading of 130°. After making the turn, the pilot realized that he was unable to make it to the airport and chose to make a forced landing on Interstate Highway 75. The pilot landed the airplane on the grass median on the northbound side of the highway. The left wingtip collided with a guardrail, and the airplane spun around 180°. The pilot stated that he turned the fuel selector handle and electrical switches to the off position before exiting the airplane.

Examination of the airplane by a FAA inspector revealed that the underside of the engine cowling was crushed. The left wing and fuselage were buckled. All three propeller blade tips were curled aft. The left fuel tank cap was secure, and inspection revealed the tank was empty with no evidence of fuel system leakage. Inspection of the right fuel tank revealed that it had approximately 33 gallons of fuel, and no evidence of fuel system leakage was noted. The airplane was recovered to the Macon Downtown Airport, and an engine start was accomplished using the start procedures in the Pilot's Operating Handbook. The engine was started using the airplanes right fuel tank and battery power. The engine idled at 700 to 750 rpm and operated smoothly up to 1200 rpm; higher rpm was not attempted. The engine was shut down, and the 12 gallons of fuel was defueled from the right fuel tank, and placed in the left fuel tank. An engine start was accomplished using the start procedures with the fuel selector on the left fuel tank. The engine started and idled at 700 to 750 rpm, and operated up to 1200 rpm. During the engine run the boost pump was turned off and on, and the engine continued to run smoothly.

A review of the Pilot's Operating Handbook for the Raytheon Aircraft Beech A36, Section III: Emergency Procedures, Engine Failure, In Flight, states: "1. Fuel Selector Valve - SELECT OTHER TANK (feel for detent), 2. Magneto/Start Switch-CHECK BOTH, 3. Auxiliary Fuel Pump - HI, 4. Mixture Control- FULL RICH, then LEAN AS REQUIRED.

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