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N4548S accident description

Connecticut map... Connecticut list
Crash location 41.308889°N, 72.515833°W
Nearest city Clinton, CT
41.294544°N, 72.527590°W
1.2 miles away
Tail number N4548S
Accident date 15 Nov 2014
Aircraft type Beech F33A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 15, 2014, about 1606 eastern standard time, a Beech F33A, N4548S, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during a forced landing, after a loss of power during cruise near Clinton, Connecticut. The pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Groton-New London Airport (GON), Groton, Connecticut, destined for Orange County Airport (MGJ), Montgomery, New York.

According to the pilot, earlier in the day she had flown the airplane from MGJ to GON. She had approximately 20 gallons of fuel in each wing tank prior to departure. She did not refuel at GON. At approximately 1555 she departed on her return flight to MGJ. After takeoff she made a left turn and established herself on course. She then climbed to 4,500 feet above mean sea level and trimmed for cruise flight, set 2,300 revolutions per minute (rpm), manifold pressure to 23 inches of mercury, and fuel flow to 13 gallons per hour. Sometime later, air traffic control (ATC) pointed out traffic to the pilot however, the sun was directly ahead of her, and very bright, making it difficult for her to see. She then advised ATC that she was looking for traffic, and shortly afterwards, she heard "a loud explosive bang - like a gunshot." She immediately checked her instruments. The rpm had risen to "over 2,500 rpm – over redline." She then reduced the propeller control back with no effect. The plane started to "shudder – physically shaking me." The rpm on her tachometer had now dropped to 2,000. Her airspeed had also dropped off and she began to lose altitude. She then checked her propeller setting and aggressively advanced the propeller, but there was no increase in rpm.

She contacted ATC and told them she had engine problems and declared an emergency. ATC advised her to land at Chester Airport (SNC), Chester, Connecticut, which was the nearest airport. She then requested vectors to SNC. They advised her to turn to a heading of 180 degrees which she did. She advised ATC that she did not see the airport, nor did she see any other clearing or road. All she saw were trees, and she continued to lose altitude. She flew the plane straight and level, as best she could, trying to maintain the plane's best glide speed. She called ATC again requesting the location of the airport. They advised her that it was about 2 miles at her 12 o'clock position. However, she still could not see it. She realized at this point that she was not going to find the airport or any other open area before she hit the trees.

She continued to fly the plane straight and level and decided not to put the landing gear down as she was aiming to land the airplane on top of the trees, hoping they would cushion the plane as it descended to the ground. She reached down to shut the fuel selector off because she was afraid there might be a fire once she crashed. She knew there was still plenty of fuel on board. However, since she did it as she was approaching the tree tops, she could not look at the fuel selector handle to check its setting. She knew she turned the handle, but she was not sure if she had fully turned it to the left to the "Off" position from the right tank before the plane then collided with the trees.

Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the airplane came to rest inverted, in a nose and left wing down position, wedged between trees, 10 feet above ground level. Both fuel bladders were breached; however, fuel was discovered to be trapped in the undamaged portion of each fuel bladder. Approximately 17 gallons of fuel was recovered from the right wing tank. Less than 1 gallon of fuel was recovered from the left wing tank. The fuel selector was in the "LEFT TANK" position. The fuel strainer was clean, free of debris, and devoid of fuel. No fuel was recovered from the fuel supply line to the engine driven fuel pump.

The propeller remained attached to the engine; the blades remained secured in the hub. One propeller blade was unremarkable, the tip of one propeller blade was bent aft, and the third blade displayed a slight twist. None displayed leading edge impact damage.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

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