Friday, May 5, 2017

Beech C23 Sundowner, N3724Y: Accident occurred May 14, 2016 near Delano Municipal Airport (KDLO), Kern County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket -  National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:  

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California 

http://registry.faa.gov/N3724Y



NTSB Identification: WPR16LA113 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Delano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/01/2017
Aircraft: BEECH C23, registration: N3724Y
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 student pilot was on a multi-leg, solo, cross-country flight. He stated that, while in cruise on the last leg of the flight, the engine began to sputter, so he switched the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left tank position.  Shortly after switching fuel tanks, the engine experienced a total loss of power and the student performed a forced landing to an orange orchard. First responders reported that there was no fuel leaking from the airplane, and no fuel was observed in the airplane’s fuel tanks.

The student stated that, before the flight, he had filled the fuel tanks to the filler tabs, which equated to 37.4 total gallons of useable fuel. Review of performance information for the airplane revealed that the airplane would have used about 35.4 gallons of fuel at the time of the accident. However, variations in wind or engine power settings may have resulted in a higher fuel consumption on the accident flight. 

In a subsequent interview, the student pilot stated that he had exhausted the fuel in the right tank and could not restart the engine before the forced landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot’s inadequate preflight and inflight fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

On May 14, 2016, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, a Beechcraft C23 "Sundowner" airplane, N3724Y, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a loss of engine power, in an orange orchard near Delano, California. The student pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was owned by a private individual and operated by the student pilot as a personal, cross-country flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight.

The student pilot stated that he departed from the Bakersfield Municipal Airport (L45), Bakersfield, California, and flew to the west side of the valley practicing maneuvers before flying to Porterville Airport (PTV), Porterville, California, for a quick stop. The pilot then departed PTV, destined to Shafter Airport – Minter Field (MIT), Shafter, California. While en route, in the vicinity of Delano, the pilot stated that the airplane engine began to sputter. He switched the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left tank position. Shortly after he switched fuel tanks, the engine lost total power and he could not get it restarted, so he initiated a forced landing to an orange orchard. During the forced landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. 

The pilot stated that he had filled the fuel tanks to the filler tabs, which equates to 37.4 gallons of useable fuel. Review of performance information for the make and model airplane revealed that, based on the reported fuel onboard the airplane at the beginning of the day, the airplane would have used about 35.4 gallons of fuel at the time of the accident.

First responders to the accident scene reported that there was no fuel leaking from the airplane, and no fuel was observed in the airplane fuel tanks.

In a later telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that he had run the right fuel tank out of fuel and couldn't get the engine primed before the forced landing occurred.



NTSB Identification: WPR16LA113
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Delano, CA
Aircraft: BEECH C23, registration: N3724Y
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 14, 2016, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, a Beechcraft C23 "Sundowner" airplane, N3724Y, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a loss of engine power, in an orange orchard near Delano, California. The student pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was owned by a private individual and operated by the student pilot as a personal, cross-country flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight.

In a telephone conversation with a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, the pilot stated that he departed from the Bakersfield Municipal Airport (L45), Bakersfield, California, and flew to the west side of the valley practicing maneuvers before flying to Porterville Airport (PTV), Porterville, California, for a quick stop. The pilot then departed PTV, destined to Shafter Airport – Minter Field (MIT), Shafter, California. While en route, in the vicinity of Delano, the pilot stated that he switched the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left tank position. Shortly after he switched fuel tanks, the engine lost power and he could not get it restarted, so he initiated a forced landing to an orange orchard. During the forced landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot estimated that he had 22 gallons of fuel per fuel tank prior to departure. 

A detailed examination of the airframe and engine are pending.

1 comment:

Jim B said...


You cannot run one tank dry and then expect a prime from the other already empty tank.

Who was this guy's flight instructor?