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Accident description
Last updated: 11 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 16 May 2015
Time:15:48
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft B200 King Air
Operator:N505SP LLC
Registration: N505SP
C/n / msn: BB-1538
First flight: 1996
Total airframe hrs:3962
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-52
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Carlsbad-McClellan-Palomar Airport, CA (CLD) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Palm Springs International Airport, CA (PSP/KPSP), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Ana-John Wayne International Airport, CA (SNA/KSNA), United States of America
Narrative:
A Beechcraft B200 King Air, N505SP, was substantially damaged when the airplane landed with the landing gear retracted at Carlsbad-McClellan-Palomar Airport, California, USA. The pilot was not injured. The cross-country personal flight departed Palm Springs, California, about 15:15 with a planned destination of Santa Ana, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The pilot reported that 10 minutes into the flight, he received an instrument flight rules flight plan from air traffic control (ATC). The cloud tops were at 8,500 feet and he was cleared to 6,000 ft, which put him in the clouds.
Within minutes of entering the clouds, the airplane lost all electrical power, and the pilot lost contact with ATC. He climbed back out of the clouds and proceeded to the west; he found a hole in the clouds over the Pacific Ocean, descended, and turned southbound. He said partial electrical power was restored, and he tried to advise ATC of his problems. His transmissions were not understood, but he flew to Carlsbad, and received a green light from the tower personnel.
He extended the landing gear and flaps but had no airspeed indicator. When the airplane touched down, the pilot realized that his landing gear had not extended. Witnesses reported that the airplane approached the runway and was faster than a normal landing, and the gear was still retracted.
The pilot reported that after the loss of electrical power he did not perform any emergency procedures as the checklist was in a cabinet and not reachable; he was just trying to fly the airplane. The pilot stated that when he departed from Palm Springs, the generators were on. When asked if he attempted to reset the generators, he again stated that he did not do any emergency procedures except to fly the airplane. In a later interview, the pilot stated that he may have accidently turned on the starter switches, which would have turned off the generators and accounted for the loss of electrical power.
A mechanic was dispatched to help defuel the airplane about 30 minutes after the accident. He reported that fuel was leaking from the right wing so he disconnected the battery. He opened an access panel but was unable to mechanically turn off the fuel selector valve (FSV). He reconnected the battery and went into the cockpit. He saw that the landing gear handle was in the down position, and the flap handle was in the full up position. The battery switch was in the OFF position with the battery gang bar down, which turned off the battery, generator 1, and generator 2. After lifting up the gang bar and turning on the battery switch, he saw nothing on the cockpit displays but heard the airplane power up. He located the FSV, turned it off, and confirmed with a firefighter that the solenoid in the wing audibly closed. The mechanic turned the electrical power off and disconnected the battery. The fuel leak from the right engine filter bowl stopped.
It took the mechanic about 30 minutes to gather the equipment needed to defuel the airplane, and he decided to start with the right side by connecting to the engine supply line. He reconnected the battery and entered the cockpit to turn on the electrical power. With power on, the cockpit displays illuminated, and he heard the landing gear try to operate to the down position. After another mechanic pulled the circuit breaker for the avionics, he defueled the airplane.
During recovery, the airplane was lifted off the ground, and the landing gear were successfully extended to the down and locked position.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's inadvertently turning on the starter switches, which turned off the generators and resulted in a loss of electrical power and gear-up landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to follow the emergency procedures for a loss of electrical power or to manually extend the landing gear.
"

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation ongoing
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Accident number: WPR15LA165
Download report:

Classification:

Wheel(s) up landing


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Palm Springs International Airport, CA to Santa Ana-John Wayne International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 126 km (79 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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