Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fuel Starvation: Beech B23 Musketeer, N4023T; accident occurred June 28, 2017 near Odell Williamson Municipal Airport (60J), Ocean Isle Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina



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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

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


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


Location: Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Accident Number: ERA17LA215
Date & Time: 06/28/2017, 1910 EDT
Registration: N4023T
Aircraft: BEECH B23
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 28, 2017, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Beech B23, N4023T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The private pilot received minor injuries, the passenger, who was a student pilot, was seriously injured. The flight departed Odell Williamson Municipal Airport (60J), Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina about 1908, and was destined for Stag Air Park (7NC1), Burgaw, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the passenger, during the previous flight from 7NC1 to 60J while in cruise flight about 3,000 ft mean sea level (msl), the pilot moved the engine mixture control from a partially leaned setting to full rich, just after the passenger noticed that the exhaust gas temperature gauge was indicating "a little high." As the mixture control was moved, the engine developed a "very noticeable vibration" which then worsened. The pilot increased the throttle setting to the "low to mid 2000" rpm range, after which the engine vibration stopped. The engine operated normally for the remainder of the flight.

After landing at 60J, the pilot added about 15 gallons of fuel to the left fuel tank (the tank he had used for the duration of the inbound flight) and about 5 gallons to the right fuel tank. The passenger recalled the pilot commenting about utilizing the right fuel tank for the return flight, but he did not recall whether he moved the fuel selector. The pilot then taxied the airplane to the airport restaurant area where they ate dinner. Before departing the parking area, the pilot removed the engine cowls to examine the engine compartment for any loose wires or other indications of what may have caused the vibration, but found nothing unusual. The pilot then checked the oil quantity and performed a walkaround inspection of the airplane using his checklist, as he had done prior to the previous flight.

According to the pilot, the engine started normally and he allowed it to idle for a few minutes to warm up. He performed an engine run-up with no issues noted. The engine performed normally during the takeoff, which the pilot described as a "ground effect takeoff" and during the initial climb. When the airplane reached an altitude of about 500 feet msl, the pilot noticed the airplane was not climbing as expected, and the engine rpm had reduced to less than 2000. As he started a "slow bank" left turn back toward the airport, the airplane would no longer climb. He then checked the carburetor temperature gauge, which read about 58°F and checked the throttle friction which was satisfactory. He considered switching fuel tanks, but chose not to because the engine was developing some power, and he was concerned that switching tanks might cause a total power loss. Once the pilot realized that the airplane would not reach the runway, he prepared for a forced landing into a wooded area. During landing the left wing struck a tree and the airplane rolled inverted.

An initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector revealed that fuselage came to rest inverted and the right wing was separated from the fuselage at the root. A section of the left wing was separated about mid span, and the nose section forward of the windscreen was crushed in the aft and upward direction. The empennage was crushed and bent toward the right, aft of the baggage compartment door. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers, rudder and elevators were separated from the empennage.

The propeller blades both had minor scratches and nicks but were otherwise undamaged. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller and produced thumb compression on all four cylinders. The Nos. 3 and 4 sparkplugs were black and sooty. Both magnetos were dislodged. The starter Bendix was in the engaged position. The fuel primer was in the closed position. The throttle control was about 1/4 inch out from the full position, and the mixture control was in the full rich position; however, impact damage was noted to the instrument panel in the area of the controls. The carburetor heat control was in the off position. Both fuel filler caps were found secure with their seals intact. The fuel selector was found halfway between the LEFT and RIGHT tank positions.

The wreckage was further examined following its recovery to a storage facility. The cockpit was intact and flight control continuity was confirmed to all flight control surfaces. The fuel selector functioned normally and when air was blown through the fuel lines, no blockages were observed. The fuel strainer and fuel bowl were absent of debris. The carburetor was impact damaged; however, its venturi and floats were intact. The magnetos were impact damaged and could not be tested. The air intake and exhaust were free from obstructions and no anomalies were found with the fuel system.

According to the pilot's logbook he had accrued 215 hours of total flight experience; of which, about 40 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The recorded temperature and dew point about the time of the accident, at an airport located about 15 miles west of the accident site, were 81°F and 59°F, respectively. Review of an FAA carburetor icing chart for the given temperature and dew point revealed serious icing at glide power.



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/28/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/16/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 215 hours (Total, all aircraft), 40 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: , Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N4023T
Model/Series: B23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: M-1129
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/21/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2452 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 3 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1983.1 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A2G
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: CRE, 33 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1853 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 248°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 110°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ocean Isle Beach, NC (60J)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: BURGAW, NC (7NC1)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1908 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: ODELL WILLIAMSON MUNI (60J)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 32 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 24
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.907500, -78.446667 (est)

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