NTSB Identification: DEN00FA007.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 18, 1999 in QUEMADO, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/02/2000
Aircraft: Gardner VARIEZE, registration: N13WM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While visiting a repair facility in California to have minor repair work performed on the aircraft, the pilot was visited at his request by a man who sold him the engine's carburetor foam air filter. The man inspected the filter and it appeared 'aged' and 'crumbly.' The pilot declined to have the filter replaced, and the pilot then reinstalled it. After an overnight stop in Arizona while en route back to his home town in Texas, the pilot contacted Albuquerque ARTCC and reported a rough running engine. He requested vectors to the closest airport, but was never identified on radar. The last transmission from the pilot was received at 1008, and the aircraft was located by a local rancher several hours later. The airplane was landed on a dry dirt field parallel to a forrest road and directly perpendicular to another gravel road. The touchdown speed was estimated to be excess of 100 knots, and the aircraft's owners manual recommends 55 knots on a rough field. Following the accident, the engine was test run. Black smoke exited from the exhaust and the engine ran rough. An internal examination of the carburetor revealed that the foam air filter had been torn and pulled through the throat of the injector, causing a restriction in airflow.

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

The pilot's selection of an unsuitable landing area on which to make a precautionary landing, and his excessive airspeed during landing touchdown. Factors were the ingestion of the foam air filter into the throat of the injector, and the pilot's failure to replace the worn air filter.

Full narrative available

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