NTSB Identification: LAX97LA092.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 25, 1997 in SAN DIEGO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Crane THORP T-18, registration: N40918
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
According to pilots who were familiar with the experimental aircraft, the engine had a history of power loss events dating back several months prior to the accident flight. On the day of the accident, the CFI and the dual student/aircraft owner had completed two touch-and-go landings and were on crosswind leg when the engine abruptly quit. A crash and postcrash fire resulted from the ensuing forced landing. A postcrash investigation revealed that a check valve was present in the engine fuel system to provide fuel under pressure to the carburetor when the electric boost pump was operating. The check valve was disassembled and was found to have no internal components. This permitted the fuel to circulate back to the fuel pump inlet and interfered with fuel flow to the carburetor.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: Installation by the pilot/owner of an unairworthy check valve in the fuel system of the amateur built aircraft, which resulted in inadequate fuel flow to the engine and subsequent engine failure. A factor in the accident was the owner's operation of the aircraft with known deficiencies. Full narrative available
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