CEN10LA399
CEN10LA399

On July 11, 2010, approximately 1230 mountain daylight time, a Beech V35A, N9447S, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Elephant Butte Lake near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The private pilot was not injured. The local flight departed the Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport (KTCS), Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, approximately 1225.

In a telephone conversation with the pilot, he said he was overflying the lake when the engine started losing manifold pressure. The pilot aimed the airplane towards land and began to troubleshoot the problem. Specifically, he stated that he switched the fuel selector valve to the right fuel tank. The engine started producing power again just prior to impacting the water. During the forced landing the main carry through spar was bent and the fuselage was wrinkled.

When the airplane was recovered from the water, the fuel selector valve was selecting the left fuel tank. Further examination revealed that the left fuel tank was empty and the right fuel tank was full of fuel. There was no fuel slick observed on the water consistent with the presence of fuel leaking from the airplane.

According to the pilot, he had 65 gallons of fuel added just prior to the flight and both fuel tanks were reported to be full. The pilot stated that he did not visually verify his fuel quantity and he did not sump either fuel tank.

In a statement received from the airport, the fuel attendant confirmed that he topped off both fuel tanks for a total of 64.2 gallons of fuel. He recalled particularly the sounds of the fuel initially splashing at the bottom of the fuel tanks, as both were "close to empty." The fueling was performed the day prior to the accident.

A subsequent examination of the airplane, engine, and related systems, conducted under the observation of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, revealed no anomalies.

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