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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR14LA117
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Hollister, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/03/2014
Aircraft: BEECH A45, registration: N666
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that, before the accident flight, he conducted a preflight inspection but that he did not verify the fuel level in each fuel tank. During the initial climb, the engine lost power, and the pilot then performed a 180-degree turn toward a field adjacent to the runway. About halfway through the turn, he realized that insufficient altitude existed to complete the turn, and he subsequently initiated a forced landing on a road. The airplane landed hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. Wreckage recovery personnel reported that they removed less than 2 gallons of fuel from the left wing fuel tank and more than 10 gallons of fuel from the right wing fuel tank. The fuel selector was found positioned to the left wing fuel tank. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the engine lost power due to fuel starvation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The total loss of engine power during initial climb due to fuel starvation and the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and improper fuel management.