Ground Crews Had Run Engines 45 Minutes Prior To Takeoff
A flight that was supposed to have been a routine check of some
avionics issues ended with the airplane running out of fuel, even
though the pilot had visually checked the fuel levels prior to the
The NTSB has released its factual report in an accident which
occurred November 9, 2009, on approach to Greenville Spartanburg
International Airport (KGSP) at 1009 EST. A Hawker Beechcraft B200,
N337MT, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power
and impact with terrain on final approach to Greenville Spartanburg
International Airport (GSP), Greer, South Carolina. The airplane
was registered to MDTR Holdings LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The
airline transport-rated pilot and two passengers were seriously
injured. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the
time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight
conducted in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part
91. The flight originated at GSP at 0938.
An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
reported that the accident pilot flew the airplane to Stevens
Aviation on the afternoon of November 8 and turned the airplane in
for a phase inspection. He returned to the airplane the next
morning to evaluate some avionics issues and flew a local flight to
do the same.
Air traffic control records provided by the Greer Air Traffic
Control Tower (ATCT) revealed that the pilot requested taxi
clearance at 0938, and the flight was cleared for takeoff at 0943.
At 1007, while on final approach to runway 4, the approach
controller informed the pilot of N337MT that he was overtaking a
Beech Baron, and the pilot responded that he needed to keep his
speed up and that he was low on fuel. At 1009, ATC reported that
the airplane had crashed.
After recovering from his injuries, the pilot was interviewed by
the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC). The pilot reported that on
the day of the accident, he arrived about 0800 and performed his
preflight, accomplishing the preflight and before engine starting
checklists. When he performed his preflight, there were 740 pounds
of fuel on board, enough for 1 hour and 10 minutes flying time. He
was going to fly the airplane to evaluate some avionics, however
the avionics technicians who were to fly with him had not arrived,
so he went inside the repair facility to wait. He reported that, in
the meantime, and unbeknownst to him, a 45-minute ground engine run
was performed on the accident airplane. After the avionics
technicians arrived, they proceeded to the airplane and flew in the
local area to evaluate the avionics. While on approach for landing,
the right engine quit, and then the left engine quit. He thought he
could make the runway, but there was a 15-knot headwind. He
established best glide configuration with gear and flaps up. He saw
the approach lights, and turned to avoid them. The airplane
impacted the ground and came to a stop.
Beechcraft B200 File Photo
The pilot stated that he referred to the flight management
system (FMS) fuel totalizer on the ground and in flight, and
assumed that the mechanics that performed the ground run did not
turn the FMS on during the engine ground run. He stated that if the
FMS was not turned on during the engine run, the FMS fuel totalizer
would not reflect any fuel burned during the engine run. He did not
refer to the airplane fuel gauges after he returned to the airplane
for the flight; he only utilized the FMS totalizer.
The two mechanics who performed the engine run prior to the
accident flight reported that they checked the fuel on board at the
conclusion of the engine run. The auxiliary fuel tanks were empty,
and the main tanks each indicated approximately 200 pounds of fuel.
They reported that the engines were operated for 30 to 35 minutes
with the majority of the run at low power settings. High power
settings were used for less than 5 minutes.
The Chief Inspector for Stevens Aviation reported that, prior to
the accident flight, the technicians performed the ground run,
moved the airplane to a hangar, and prepared to connect the
airplane to a tow bar to pull it into the hangar. He was aware that
the airplane had some avionics issues. He recalled that two
avionics technicians went out to the airplane, and the next thing
he heard was that there had been a crash. He was not told that the
airplane was going to fly and does not know how that decision was
made. He reported that Stevens Aviation uses a procedure to install
an external placard, or “red tag,” on the outside of
the airplane before maintenance begins, but no repairs had been
started on airplane. The red tag is generally installed after the
engine run and the airplane has been moved into the hangar and
placed on jacks.
The pilot was a certificated airline transport pilot,
flight instructor, aircraft dispatcher, ground instructor, and
flight engineer. He held a first-class medical certificate that was
issued on October 15, 2009. He reported a total of 15,751 flight
hours. His most recent flight review was in the FlightSafety
International B200 simulator on May 23, 2009.
The airplane was a Hawker Beechcraft Corporation B200,
serial number BB-1628, equipped with two Pratt and Whitney Canada
PT6A-42 engines. The airplane had a maximum gross weight of 12,500
pounds. The last documented inspection prior to the day of the
accident was on April 23, 2009 at 2,990.1 hours total time. The
airplane had a total time of 3,060 hours at the time of the
The FMS screen was mounted on the center instrument panel of the
accident airplane; the airplane fuel gauges were mounted on the
left cockpit wall, above the circuit breaker panel.
The B200 Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) addresses
takeoff with a low fuel condition. In Chapter 2 (Limitations - Fuel
Management), the following statement is published, “Fuel
gages in the yellow arc - Do not take off if the fuel quantity
gages indicate in yellow arc or indicate less than 265 pounds of
fuel in each main tank system.”
The 0953 weather observation for GSP included the
following: sky clear, surface winds from 020 degrees at 4 knots, 10
statute miles visibility, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point
7 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.39 inches of
Wreckage and Impact Information
Following the accident, the FAA inspector responded to the
accident site and examined the wreckage. Her inspection revealed
that there was no fuel in the main or auxiliary fuel tanks. The
tanks were not breached and there was no evidence of fuel leaks.
The wings were removed during the recovery of the wreckage and only
residual fuel was observed.
Maintenance-installed seat covers were found on the two pilot
seats. The shoulder harnesses were found under the seat covers and
there was no evidence of their use during the accident flight.
The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility in Griffin,
Georgia, where an examination was performed by the NTSB IIC. The
examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preexisting