Saturday, July 13, 2019

Fuel Starvation: Beech C23 Sundowner, N9704L, accident occurred October 01, 2016 near Taylor Municipal Airport (T74), Williamson County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Taylor, TX
Accident Number: CEN17LA003
Date & Time: 10/01/2016, 0925 CDT
Registration: N9704L
Aircraft: BEECH C23
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 1, 2016, about 0925 central daylight time, a Beech C23 airplane, N9704L, was destroyed after impacting trees and terrain during final approach to Taylor Municipal Airport (T74), Taylor, Texas. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Hybird, Inc., Livingston, Texas, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The airplane departed McCampbell-Porter Airport (KTFP), Ingleside, Texas, and was destined for T74.

The pilot told Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors that the engine lost power when the airplane was ½-mile from runway 35 and a forced landing ensued. During the forced landing, the airplane struck trees and both wings were separated at the wing roots. The fuselage impacted the ground and came to rest upright about 20 feet from the trees that were struck. The airplane caught fire. The pilot removed the passenger, exited the airplane, and walked to a nearby rural residence.

FAA inspectors examined the wreckage at the accident site on October 4, 2016. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

On October 14, 2016, the engine and airplane were examined at Air Salvage of Dallas, Lancaster, Texas. An examination of the engine showed that many of the engine accessories were damaged or destroyed by the post-crash fire. The crankshaft was hand-rotated at the flange. Thumb suction and compression were obtained on all but the number 2 cylinder. As the engine was rotated through 300°, it locked and could not be turned. The accessory housing and propeller were removed. The crankshaft was again rotated by hand and rotated through a full 360° with no obstruction. Further examination revealed the obstruction was caused by damage to the Bendix starter that interfered with the starter ring gear support. Valve train and crankshaft continuity was verified, and the accessory gears were observed rotating. All cylinders were examined with no defects noted. The engine's top spark plugs had been removed at the accident site and only three were present during the examination. Neither could be associated with any specific cylinder. The bottom spark plugs were observed to be Normal-Worn when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug card. The bottom spark plugs exhibited signatures consistent with normal combustion.

The engine was overhauled on January 29, 1991. No case change was recorded.

During the examination, considerable debris was noted in the fuel strainer screen, and the fuel strainer bowl was extensively corroded.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/17/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N9704L
Model/Series: C23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: M-1362
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/24/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2450 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 15 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3115 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4G
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGTU, 787 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0850 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 300°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ingleside, TX (TFP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Taylor, TX (T74)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time:  CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Taylor Municipal (T74)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 600 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  30.572778, -97.443056 (est)

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