NTSB Identification: LAX98LA237.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 19, 1998 in GLOBE, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: De Malignon VARIEZE, registration: N77AX
Injuries: 1 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.

Witnesses on the ground reported hearing the engine of a low-flying aircraft start and stop several times before the aircraft struck utility lines. The engine then surged, but the aircraft continued to the ground. A wet stain was on the ground near the right wing tank. About 2 gallons of fuel were in the left wing tank and about 1 or 2 cups of fuel in the fuselage header tank. The POH states that starvation can occur during long steep descents with 2 gallons per wing tank, and advises the pilot to select the fuselage tank in order to avoid fuel starvation. The fuel selector was found partially displaced from the auxiliary (fuselage tank position). The fuselage tank is separate from the main fuel system and must be filled independently. The carburetor throttle and mixture control arms were in the full open and full rich positions. No fuel was found in the carburetor bowl. No engine driven fuel pump or electric fuel boost pump was installed. The aircraft designer specifies that the aircraft be equipped with both an engine driven fuel pump and an electric auxiliary fuel boost pump because of the limited headspace between the tanks and the engine.

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

fuel starvation due to the pilot's failure to properly plan his flight with regard to his estimated flight time, planned descent(s), and the amount of usable fuel available and required in the fuselage tank. The pilot/builder's deviation from the aircraft plans, in that his aircraft did not employ a fuel boost pump and an engine driven fuel pump, as specified by the designer, was a factor in this accident.

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