Sunday, January 16, 2022

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Beechcraft B35 Bonanza, N5093C; accident occurred January 13, 2019 near Jefferson County International Airport (0S9), Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Washington
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

ABCS Association

Location: Port Hadlock, Washington
Accident Number: WPR19LA064
Date and Time: January 13, 2019, 13:58 Local
Registration: N5093C
Aircraft: Beech 35
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


Shortly after takeoff and during the initial climb, the cabin door opened, and the pilot elected to return to the airport. Upon entering the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the pilot noticed that the left fuel gauge indicated full; and the right fuel gauge indicated empty. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost total power and the pilot performed a forced landing, during which the airplane impacted trees, resulting in substantial damage.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the right main fuel tank and right tip tank had been breached during the accident sequence, while the left main wing tank and left tip tank were minimally damaged. Recovery personnel reported that about 12 gallons of aviation fuel was drained from the left main fuel tank and the left tip tank. The fuel selector handle was in the right tank position. When operated by hand, the handle moved freely through 360° rotation by hand, with each detent identified by feel. Examination revealed no mechanical anomalies with the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the loss of engine power was the result of fuel starvation when the pilot failed to switch from the empty right main tank to the left main tank.

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 due to fuel starvation and the pilot’s mismanagement of the available fuel.


Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Aircraft Fuel - Fluid management
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

On January 13, 2019, about 1400 Pacific standard time, a Beech B35 airplane, N5093C, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Port Hadlock, Washington. The commercial pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that, shortly after takeoff from Jefferson County International Airport (0S9), the single-entry door on the right side of the airplane opened. The pilot continued the climb to pattern altitude, then turned onto a left downwind to return to 0S9. The pilot further stated that while on downwind, he noticed that the left fuel gauge showed full, but “…there was no needle movement when I thought it should be moving.” The pilot further stated that the right fuel gauge showed empty when it should have shown full (20 gallons) and that the engine lost total power. The pilot maneuvered for a small grass area that he observed through an opening in the trees. The right wing impacted a large tree trunk, which nearly separated the wing from the airplane. There was no postcrash fire.

First responders who arrived shortly after the accident reported that there was no smell of fuel present at the accident site and that the pilot indicated that “…the airplane seemed to not have fuel.” The pilot reported that he departed with about 45 gallons of fuel onboard.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the right main fuel tank and right tip tank were breached during the accident sequence, while the left main fuel tank and left tip tank remained intact. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. Recovery personnel drained about 12 gallons of fuel from the left main and left tip tank. When the fuel selector handle was rotated by hand, it rotated freely through 360° without binding or interruption; all detents were identified by feel. The investigation revealed no mechanical anomalies with the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation.

History of Flight

Enroute-climb to cruise Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: 87, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 21, 2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: April 19, 2018
Flight Time: 2712 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1190 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N5093C
Model/Series: 35 B35 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1950 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: D-2355
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 30, 2018 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2850 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 7 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5488 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: IO-470K
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 225 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 0S9,110 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 1.65 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:55 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 297°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Port Townsend, WA (0S9) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Everett, WA (PAE) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 13:50 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Jefferson County International Airport 0S9
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 108 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 48.042221,-122.77471 (est)


  1. depressing fuel starvation accident reports, and starvation is the correct term, the PIC starved the engine!

    1. 87? still think you can fly? how about you get out of the plane before you kill someone besides yourself?

      more to the point---Why isn't there an age limit for pilot licenses in AG?

    2. Age does not determine the competency of a pilot. Biannual flight reviews and medical license are there for a reason.

  2. Comments of inactive private and A&P. Aircraft 2+ years out of annual? Believe medical and BFR intervals completely insufficient at 80+ years of age. Think we’ve likely all seen examples of seniors being reluctant to adjust driving habits to match changing circumstances. GA less forgiving.

    1. My bad, disregard out of annual comment. Further to above, some states have more frequent / stringent competence checks for drivers. Are we relying in part on insurance entities to address issue?