CEN09LA170
CEN09LA170

On February 21, 2009, at 1030 mountain standard time, a Beech B35, N8799A, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it struck power lines and terrain during a forced landing following a loss of power while maneuvering near La Luz, New Mexico, about 1 one mile north of Alamogordo. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and designated pilot examiner on board the airplane were not injured. The local flight originated from Alamogordo approximately 1005.

The pilot was receiving an "initial aircraft familiarization" from the designated pilot examiner. As they were returning to the airport, the engine lost power and the examiner noticed the fuel pressure had dropped. The electric boost pump was switched on, and the examiner directed the pilot to start pumping the warbler pump. Fuel pressure rose slightly to 2.5 psi (pounds per square inch) and the engine restarted and ran for about 20 seconds. Gliding towards an open field, the examiner lowered the landing gear and raised the nose to clear some power lines. He felt "a snag" on the left main gear "which diverted our flight path slightly to the left. The airplane touched down and during the landing roll, it struck a dirt berm that collapsed the nose gear and spun it around. The right wing was bent and the left wing sustained spar damage when it struck mesquite bushes.

FAA's Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Albuquerque dispatched an inspector to the scene. In his report, he noted the fuel system was intact, the right wing tank contained enough fuel that the fuel cap could not be removed, and the left main tank contained approximately 1 gallon of fuel. The fuel selector valve/wobble pump was on the left main tank. When the wobble pump was activated, no fuel could be pumped to the engine-driven pump but when the selector was moved to the right tank position, fuel was supplied to the engine-driven pump. The inspector noted several other discrepancies with the airplane. His full report is attached as an exhibit to this report.

The airplane was examined by the pilot's mechanic. He reported finding "what appeared to be a dirt doppler nest in the right fuel tank vent," causing a vacuum and preventing fuel from flowing.

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