October 12, 2011, Hollywood, Fla., Socata TBM 700


The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing on a highway at about 1334 Eastern time, following total loss of engine power during the post-maintenance test flight. Visual conditions prevailed. The airline transport pilot and pilot-rated other crewmember sustained minor injuries. There were no ground injuries.

By cockpit indication, the left tank had approximately 104 gallons and the right tank had approximately 105 gallons. The flight departed and climbed to FL280, which took approximately 15 minutes. After leveling off, a low right fuel tank warning was received. At the end of the flight’s cruise portion, the pilot noted a fuel imbalance indication indicating the right side had a greater quantity of fuel that the left fuel tank. After descending to 10,000 feet, multiple low right fuel tank warning annunciations were received. The pilot shifted to supply fuel from the left tank.

After a practice ILS approach, the flight was maneuvering for a full-stop landing. With the right fuel tank selected, the red “fuel press” warning light illuminated and the engine lost power. The pilot verified power loss by advancing the thrust lever forward, but there was no engine response. An airstart was attempted, and the pilot felt a sensation that the engine was starting, but it did not accelerate. Because the flight was low (100 to 150 feet) above ground, he saw a highway, but with traffic on the highway, he elected to retract the landing gear. The airplane was landed gear-up in a southerly direction in the northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike.


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