Friday, May 31, 2019

Fuel Starvation: Beech C90, N717X, accident occurred July 26, 2018 near Crystal River Airport (KCGC), Citrus County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lecanto, FL
Accident Number: ERA18TA203
Date & Time: 07/26/2018, 1755 EDT
Registration: N717X
Aircraft: Beech C90
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 26, 2018, about 1755 eastern daylight time, a Beech C90, N717X, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field, following a total loss of power on both engines near Lecanto, Florida. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by LILSA KA LLC as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Williston, Florida. The flight departed Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport (BKV), Brooksville, Florida, about 1740.

The pilot reported that earlier during the day of the accident, he flew uneventfully from X60 to BKV to have some maintenance work performed on the brakes. While at BKV, he purchased 40 gallons of fuel, 20 gallons were added to each wing. The pilot estimated that at the time of departure, the airplane had a total fuel load of 870 lbs. (about 130 gallons total, 65 gallons per side). The pilot then waited for some convective weather to subside and departed on a return flight to X60. Due to some scattered thunderstorms remaining in the area, the pilot flew west and then followed the coast north. While flying over Crystal River Airport (CGC), Crystal River, Florida, the engine power surged on the left engine. The pilot diverted toward CGC and was flying a wide right downwind traffic pattern for runway 27 while trying to troubleshoot the engine anomaly. As he turned the airplane onto the right base leg of the traffic pattern, the left engine lost all power; then when he subsequently turned onto the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, the right engine lost all power. The pilot was not sure if the airplane would glide to the runway and elected to perform a forced landing to a field. During the landing roll, the right wing impacted a tree.

Review of an airplane flight manual revealed that the airplane was equipped with six fuel tanks; two interconnected tanks in each wing and one tank in each engine nacelle. Fuel flowed from the respective wing tanks, to the nacelle tank, to the engine. Fuel would gravity feed from the wing tanks to nacelle tank; however, the gravity feed does not work once the wing tanks are depleted to about 28 gallons (total per each wing) or below. At that point, the fuel transfer pumps (one for each wing/nacelle) must be on to keep fuel moving to the nacelle tanks and ultimately the engines. Review of the after starting and taxi checklist revealed instructions to turn the fuel transfer pumps on.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest upright in a field about 4 miles east of CGC. The right wing sustained substantial damage and the rest of the airplane remained undamaged. A local mechanic inspected the wreckage at the scene for the purposes of providing a repair estimate. During the inspection, the mechanic noted that the fuel transfer pumps were in the off position. He also observed no fuel in the nacelle tanks and about 30 gallons of fuel in each wing. The mechanic then turned on the battery and fuel transfer pumps. At that point, fuel began to flow from each wing tank to the respective nacelle tank.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 27, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/20/2016
Flight Time:  1620 hours (Total, all aircraft), 172 hours (Total, this make and model), 1555 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 55 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N717X
Model/Series: C90 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: LJ-581
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 8
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/11/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 10100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 172 Hours
Engines: 2 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 8287 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Walter
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: M601E-115
Registered Owner: Lilsa Ka Llc
Rated Power: 751 hp
Operator: Lilsa Ka Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CGC, 9 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1755 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 260°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Brooksville, FL (BKV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Williston, FL (X60)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1740 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.878889, -82.494722 (est)

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