Advised The Controller That He Was Experiencing A Fuel Issue And Needed To Land

Location: Jackson, TN Accident Number: ERA20LA313
Date & Time: 09/11/2020, 0252 CDT Registration: N74HS
Aircraft: Beech A36 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

On September 11, 2020, about 0252 central daylight time, a Beech A36, N74HS, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near McKellar-Spies Regional Airport (MKL), Jackson, Tennessee. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Review of a surveillance video at Dickson Municipal Airport (M02), Dickson, Tennessee, revealed that the accident airplane arrived on September 10, 2020 about 2041. The airplane taxied to the fuel farm. The pilot exited the airplane and walked to the fuel pump. He then returned to the airplane and taxied to the parking area. The fuel farm was operated by the fixed-base operator and the pump was locked for the night. The next morning the airplane taxied to the fuel farm and the pilot did not exit the airplane. The engine remained running for 3 minutes before the airplane departed the airport about 0206.

Review of preliminary air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that about 0248 the pilot requested a deviation to MKL from air traffic control. He advised the controller that he was experiencing a fuel issue and needed to land. The controller provided a heading towards MKL and asked the pilot to report when he had the airport in sight. The pilot turned to the assigned heading, started a descent, and cancelled his visual flight rules flight plan. No further communications were received from the pilot. The FAA subsequently issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT), and the airplane was located later that morning about 1.5 miles west of MKL in a wooded area.

Examination of the airplane by two FAA inspectors revealed that all major components of the airplane were located at the accident site. The engine, cockpit and a portion of the right wing had separated from the airframe during impact with trees and terrain. There was no odor of fuel at the accident site. No fuel was found in the intact left-wing fuel tank. The right-wing sustained substantial damage and the fuel tank was breached. The fuel inlet line attached to the manifold valve was removed and was absent of fuel. A trace amount of fuel was found in the engine driven fuel pump inlet line.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.