CEN12LA074
CEN12LA074

On November 15, 2011, at 1040 central standard time, a Beech S35 single-engine airplane, N5858S, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to N5858S, LLC, Brookfield, Wisconsin, and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight departed the Sawyer International Airport (SAW), Marquette, Michigan, at 0920, and was destined for Capitol Airport (02C), Brookfield, Wisconsin.

According to the pilot, he departed for the planned 1 hour and 40 minute flight with 58 total gallons of fuel. While in cruise flight at 2,500 feet mean sea level, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot noticed no anomalies prior to the loss of engine power. After switching fuel tanks and several unsuccessful engine restart attempts, the pilot executed a forced landing to a field. During the forced landing, the airplane struck trees adjacent to the field, and the airplane landed with the landing gear partially extended. The airplane impacted terrain and came to rest upright. The pilot stated that at the time of the accident, he estimated the left and right fuel tanks were approximately 1/2 full of fuel.

Postaccident examination of the airplane showed the firewall and forward fuselage were bent. After recovery from the field, approximately 35 gallons of fuel was noted in the left fuel tank and no fuel was noted in the right fuel tank. The fuel selector was found in the right tank position. The right fuel tank was intact, and the left fuel tank bladder contained a tear, in which the fuel drained until it reached a level below the tear. No fuel was noted in the fuel lines from the right tank and through the engine fuel system. When the fuel selector was turned to the left tank, fuel flowed out of the fuel selector valve. When the fuel selector was turned to the right tank, no fuel was noted.

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