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N30WC accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 32.254167°N, 106.876667°W
Nearest city Las Cruces, NM
32.312316°N, 106.778337°W
7.0 miles away
Tail number N30WC
Accident date 21 Dec 2012
Aircraft type Beech 95-B55 (T42A)
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 21, 2012, at 1650 mountain standard time, a Beech 95-B55, N30WC, impacted terrain 2 miles southeast of runway 30 while on landing approach to Las Cruces International Airport (KLRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 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 originated from Santa Teresa (5T6), New Mexico, approximately 1640.

According to the pilot's accident report, he added 31 gallons of fuel (for a total of 70 gallons) prior to departing K5T6. The fuel gauges indicated the main tanks were one-half to three-quarters full, with the remainder in the auxiliary tanks. The fuel selectors were on the main tanks. He executed the ILS (instrument landing system) to runway 30, in visual meteorological conditions, and was 10 miles from the runway threshold when the right engine started surging. Fuel flow fluctuated between 28 gph (gallons per hour) to 2 gph. He advanced the throttle, propeller, and mixture controls and turned on the fuel boost pumps. He said the airplane yawed 45 to 70 degrees left and right, and he identified the right engine as having lost power. He feathered the propeller and secured the engine. Shortly thereafter, the left engine lost power. The airplane impacted terrain, shearing off the left wing. The right engine was partially separated from the right wing. In a hospital interview, the pilot told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that he had shut down the right engine and he described the procedure he used.

The inspector told the pilot that the right propeller had not been feathered and that both fuel selectors were in the auxiliary tank position. Photographs taken by the inspector showed the left engine throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were full forward. The right engine throttle and propeller control were only slightly retarded, and the mixture control was in the IDLE CUTOFF position. Both fuel selectors were positioned on the auxiliary tanks, but the fuel gauge selector switch was on the main tanks.

In his written statement, the inspector estimated there should have had about 7 gallons in each auxiliary tank, and he computed this to be the fuel remaining after a flight from Santa Teresa to the accident site. The inspector also noted a placard affixed on the instrument panel, warning: DO NOT TAKE OFF IF FUEL QUANTITY GAGE INDICATES IN YELLOW ARC OR WITH LESS THAN 13 GALLONS IN EACH MAIN TANK.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to properly manage the airplane's fuel, which resulted in engine failure due to fuel starvation.

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