ERA10LA485
ERA10LA485

On September 18, 2010, at 1715 eastern daylight time, a Beech 58, N86BR, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Rainelle, West Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot and four passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight which departed Morgantown Municipal Airport (MGW), Morgantown, West Virginia at 1645, and was destined for Bluefield, West Virginia. The non-scheduled passenger flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the pilot, while in cruise flight at 8,000 feet mean sea level, an uncommanded right engine shutdown occurred. He attempted to move the left fuel selector to the crossfeed position in an attempt to restart the right engine, but the fuel selector knob would not turn clockwise to the crossfeed position. Shortly thereafter, the left engine shut down. He feathered both propellers and set the airplane up for its best glide angle in an attempt to reach the closest airport. Repeated attempts were made to restart the engines during the descent, but neither engine would restart. Due to the rate of descent, the pilot determined he would not be able to reach a nearby airport and made a forced landing in the backyard of a private residence. The airplane slid for approximately 60 feet before making contact with the back side of a house.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, an on-scene examination of the airplane revealed that all major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. Flight control continuity was established to the ailerons, and the rudder and elevator control cables were broken and exhibited signs of overstress failure. The landing gear were extended, and were separated from the aircraft. The wing flaps were found in the extended position. The engine and propeller controls were jammed and continuity could not be established due to impact damage. The pilot did not report any flight control or propeller control anomalies during the accident flight. Examination of the three-bladed constant speed propellers revealed that both propellers remained attached to their respective engines at the accident site. Examination of the left engine propeller revealed that there was no evidence that it had been rotating at the time of the accident and that it was in the feathered position. Examination of the right propeller revealed that there was no evidence that the propeller was rotating under engine power and that it was not feathered. No flight control anomalies were noted during the on-scene examination.

An examination of the fuel system revealed that the fuel selectors were indicating “On” for both fuel tanks. It was verified that the left fuel selector knob would not rotate clockwise to the crossfeed position. The left fuel selector was disassembled, and it was determined that the left fuel selector valve was rigged incorrectly in the crossfeed position. Further examination of the left fuel selector knob revealed that when in the "On" position, indicating that the left engine was drawing fuel from the left fuel tank, fuel was actually drawing from the right tank.

A review of the aircraft maintenance records revealed that the left fuel selector was removed on September 8, 2010, resealed and reinstalled during maintenance and approved for return to service. Examination of the right fuel selector knob revealed no anomalies.

Further examination of the airframe revealed that the fuel caps were found closed and locked. The right and left fuel tanks were accessed through the access panels at their respective wing roots. The right tank was found to have no usable fuel remaining in the tank. The right fuel tank system was not breached during the accident and there was no evidence of fuel leakage from the right fuel tank at the accident site.

The left main fuel tank was breached at the leading edge of the left wing, outboard of the engine, as a result of contact with the house. Evidence of a fuel leak of an unknown quantity was observed on the ground due to dead grass in the immediate vicinity of impact with the house. There was also a small amount of leakage under the left wing where the airplane came to rest. The remaining fuel was drained from the left fuel tank by the FAA inspector prior to movement of the airplane. The recovered fuel totaled approximately 5 gallons. The left and right fuel tank sending units were moved through their full range of motion from empty to full and back to empty. The cockpit-mounted left and right fuel level indicator movements were coordinated with the movement of the floats for each respective tank; both indicators were indicating empty at the accident site. The left and right wing-mounted sight gage floats were also moved through their full range of motion and both indicated appropriately from empty to full.

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