NTSB Identification: DEN00LA064.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 24, 2000 in WEST JORDAN, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2000
Aircraft: Johnson ZODIAC CH 601 HDS, registration: N984J
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.

For the second flight of the homebuilt airplane, the pilot/builder took off and remained in the traffic pattern. While on the downwind leg and approaching the base leg turn, the engine began 'misfiring and/or running very rough.' Smoke filled the cabin, and the engine seized shortly thereafter. During the forced landing, the airplane clipped a high stack of PVC pipes and impacted the ground inverted. Postaccident investigation disclosed the pilot had removed the engine oil pressure sending unit from the engine oil pressure port, located on the right side of the engine-driven oil pump housing. He then installed a common automotive brass T-fitting, to which he attached both the oil pressure sending unit and a Hobbs hour meter fluid pressure-activated switch. The T-fitting failed in the pipe thread, flush with the pump housing exterior surface. The arm of the 'sending unit assembly' was about 4.5 inches long, with an estimated weight of about 7 ounces. The path of the engine cooling air directed the leaking oil to the cabin air heat muff, where it was burned by the muffler prior to entering the cabin, accounting for the smoke in the cabin.

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

Total failure of an oil line fitting, resulting in oil exhaustion and subsequent engine seizure. Factors were the poor fitting installation by the pilot, and unsuitable terrain on which to make a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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