Disrupted fuel supply was the likely cause behind a plane crash last year near Osoyoos, according to a federal report.
The single-engine Beechcraft plane crash-landed onto Hwy. 97 around 5 p.m. on July 7, 2015, and burst into flames, sending the 46-year-old Surrey pilot to hospital with severe burns. He was the only one injured, but the plane caught its wings on the rear of a semi-trailer before hitting the ground and sliding into a telephone pole.
The TSB’s investigation didn’t discover any mechanical issues that would have resulted in a loss of engine power – however, it did identify the type of fuel used by the pilot as a possible cause.
“Since the pilot had a history of using automotive gasoline and the aircraft tip tanks emitted a strong odour of automotive gasoline, it is likely that there was a mixture of aviation fuel and automotive gasoline in the aircraft fuel tanks,” the report reads.
The disruption to fuel supply was caused due to vapour lock – which is when fuel, normally in liquid form, changes to vapour while still in the fuel delivery system.
According to a Transport Canada guide, the use of car fuel can be risky because while there is only one grade of aviation fuel, there are four seasonal grades of car fuel.
The TSB couldn’t determine the purchase date and seasonal grade of the gas used in the Beechcraft, but its use is not approved for this model of Beechcraft plane in either the U.S. or Canada.