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N3680Q accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 35.823611°N, 84.538889°W
Nearest city Kingston, TN
35.880908°N, 84.508545°W
4.3 miles away
Tail number N3680Q
Accident date 16 Jan 2016
Aircraft type Beech A23
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 16, 2016, at 1110 central standard time, a Beech A23, N3680Q, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near the Riley Creek Airport (12TN), Kingston, Tennessee. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the 12TN at 1015.

According to the pilot, two weeks prior to the accident, he replaced the O-rings on the fuel caps and drained all of the fuel out of the left fuel tank in order to clear any debris from the left wing sump valve. He then poured all of the drained fuel into the right wing tank, which brought the right fuel quantity to approximately 28 gallons. He then poured the remaining fuel, which was approximately 1.5 gallons, into the left fuel tank and then sampled the fuel from both tanks for water and other contamination. He then tied down the airplane and placed a tarp over it.

On the day of the accident, the pilot returned to the airport and did not recall if he verified the fuel levels prior to his flight. He climbed into the cockpit and conducted a preflight inspection prior to starting the engine. Once the engine was started, he taxied around the ramp area to clean the mud and debris from the tires while warming up the engine. He took off and flew around for approximately 45 minutes before returning to the airport. After landing he taxied around the airport a few more times before departing again. He said that he was flying for about 10 minutes when he decided to return to the airport. As he flew over the airport to see the direction of the wind, the engine stopped. He attempted to troubleshoot the situation and made an unsuccessful attempt to restart the engine but did not move the fuel selector from the right fuel tank for the left fuel tank as he believed it only contained 1 to 1.5 gallons of fuel. The pilot performed an emergency off-field landing.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane's left wing was broken away from the wing root. The empennage separated from the main cabin and the firewall was buckled. During the examination of the airplane it was noted that the fuel tanks were not breached. Further inspection revealed that the fuel selector was on the right fuel tank. The right fuel tank did not contain any fuel. Examination of the left fuel tank reveal that it had approximately 7 gallons of fuel after draining. A cursory examination was conducted on the engine and valve train continuity was established. The magnetos were checked, and they produced spark to all the spark plugs. Fuel flow was confirmed to the fuel flow divider and fuel injectors. An engine run was attempted but was unsuccessful. During a telephone call with the FAA inspector, the pilot mentioned that he felt that the fuel may have been stolen out of his airplane prior to the accident.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and fuel planning and his improper in-flight fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

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