NTSB Identification: LAX97LA011.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 08, 1996 in CAMARILLO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: RICHARDS LANCAIR IVP, registration: N477RM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The experimental airplane had been built from a kit by the pilot and flown about 12 flight hours since completion. Thirty-two gallons of fuel were onboard at the last takeoff, all of which was in the left tank. The engine lost total power at 4,500 feet msl with the fuel selector valve in the left tank position, and the pilot was unable to restart the engine. The engine was placed in a test cell with the fuel supply being routed to the engine through the aircraft's fuel selector valve. The engine started and developed only partial power. The No. 6 cylinder and piston exhibited heavy scorching, and after changing the cylinder and piston the engine operated to full power. The aircraft's fuel selector valve had been modified from the manufacturer's original configuration by machining to the valve's stem to incorporate a both position. The fuel selector was tested on a flow bench. Air bubbles were observed through the vapor ejector line when the line opposite the selected fuel tank was uncapped, simulating the empty right fuel tank. It was noted that as the air bubbles increased the fuel flow decreased from 253 lbs/hr to 235 lbs/hr. The engine requires 118 lbs/hr to operate at 75 percent power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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