Sunday, January 05, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Beech K35 Bonanza, N803R, accident occurred January 13, 2018 at Vance Brand Airport (KLMO), Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado

Fuel Tank. 
Textron Aviation 

Accident Site.
Federal Aviation Administration

Airplane in Hangar Accident Site. 
Federal Aviation Administration

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Longmont, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA076
Date & Time: 01/13/2018, 1639 MST
Registration: N803R
Aircraft: BEECH K35
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


After returning to the airport from a local orientation flight, the airline transport pilot completed two touch-and-go landings. During the initial climb after the second touch-and-go, the engine began running roughly and then experienced a total loss of power about 300 ft above ground level; the pilot did not notice anything unusual with the instruments. He descended for a forced landing, flared the airplane, and then landed hard in a field, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.

A postaccident examination of the engine and airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Thus, the reason for the total loss of engine power could not be determined. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because a postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

On January 13, 2018, at 1639 mountain standard time, a Beech K35 Bonanza, N803R, experienced a loss of engine power after departure from Vance Brand Airport, (LMO), Longmont, Colorado. The pilot sustained serious injuries, the passenger sustained minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originally departed LMO at 1551.

A witness reported that he was near taxiway A3 when heard "a popping noise" coming from the airplane during takeoff. A few seconds later he heard the engine "shut off" as the airplane was in a nose up attitude. The airplane rolled to the right and then descended in a "steep dive" toward the ground. When he arrived at the accident site (figure 1) he observed smoke and smelled fuel near the airplane. He stated that the ground near the airplane was wet and fuel was leaking from the left wing where it had partially separated from the fuselage.

Figure 1 – Accident site

After the accident the pilot stated that he planned to operate in the local area as an orientation flight for his son. Before the flight he taxied to the local fixed base operator (FBO) and added 21.7 gallons of fuel. He added that for local flights he did not fill the tanks completely; he estimated there were 22 to 24 gallons in the left and right main tanks respectively and 15 gallons in the auxiliary tank. He also estimated that the engine's fuel burn rate would have been about 15 to 16 gallons per hour for the accident flight. Before takeoff the fuel selector was positioned to the left fuel tank. After performing maneuvers in the local area, they returned to LMO with the right fuel tank selected. They entered the traffic pattern and performed one uneventful touch-and-go landing. They flew around the traffic pattern and landed again for a second touch-and-go landing. During the takeoff, with about 500 ft of runway remaining, he retracted the landing gear and continued to climb out. About 3 seconds later the engine began running rough but the instruments did not reveal anything unusual to the pilot. The engine experienced a total loss of power about 300 ft above ground level (agl). He pitched the nose down to maintain airspeed, flared the airplane near the ground, then landed hard in a field. The pilot estimated that at the time of the accident there were 12 gallons of fuel in the left tank, 18 gallons in the right tank, and 15 gallons in the auxiliary tank.

After the accident the airplane owner stated that he had never experienced any engine issues in the past.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that fuel was present on the ground and leaking from the airplane. After the accident the fuel selector was positioned to OFF by first responders and the original position was unknown. Fuel recovered from the fuel tanks was tested for water using a water detecting paste and no water was detected. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies which would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane was equipped with an engine data monitor (EDM) that recorded the basic engine parameters, which included cylinder head temperatures and exhaust gas temperatures. A review of the EDM data did not reveal any anomalies.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/13/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/17/2017
Flight Time:   10574 hours (Total, all aircraft), 33.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 2026 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 204.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 63 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N803R
Model/Series: K35
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1959
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: D-6003
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/10/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2903 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3633.7 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-470-C
Registered Owner: BENNETT ROBERT L JR
Rated Power: 250 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLMO, 5056 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1715 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 113°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C / -7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1551 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 5055 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4799 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Touch and Go; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.168889, -105.172778 (est)

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