NTSB Identification: ATL97LA053.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 01, 1997 in CENTERVILLE, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/1998
Aircraft: Catchot HAULER, registration: N301A
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 pilot reported that takeoff and climb to 2000 feet were normal. He said that about 20 minutes after takeoff, smoke filled the cockpit. He also noticed that the engine tachometer needle had dropped to zero and the engine had lost power. The pilot, selected a nearby field for an emergency landing. The airplane collided with two trees short of the intended touchdown point. Examination of the airplane disclosed that the engine was equipped with a dual electronic ignition system. Two three-ohm coils were to have been installed on the engine (at the manufacturer) as the ignition source instead of magnetos. Examination of the coil assemblies disclosed that both assemblies had shorted and that they were not functional. Subsequent research disclosed that the three-ohm coils also require the installation of a two-ohm ballast resistor into the ignition system. No ballast resistors were installed on N301A. Also, no airworthiness certificate had been issued for this airplane.

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

the engine manufacturer's failure to install ballast resistors in the ignition system, which resulted in an electrical short in the dual ignition system and subsequent loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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