NTSB Identification: CHI01LA216.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 14, 2001 in Antigo, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Stemme S10-VT, registration: N502SC
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The motorglider was destroyed by fire after an emergency landing. After takeoff, the aircraft was passing through 1,000 feet agl, when the pilot heard a "loud pop" and smoke started coming into the cockpit. The engine started running rough and the pilot shut down the engine and executed an emergency landing. The fire consumed the wing attachment area and the cockpit forward of the engine compartment within five minutes of the initial engine failure. The examination of the wreckage revealed the cockpit, engine compartment, and inner wing were destroyed by fire. Only the tail section and about 10 feet of each outer wing panel remained intact. The fire in the engine containment area destroyed all non-metallic components. The left side of the engine sustained extensive heat damage resulting in the melting of the left carburetor, the left intake manifold, the left carburetor tray, and the engine alternator. The stainless steel firewall shroud in front, aft, and on top of the engine was found in place. The side cowlings that cover the engine compartment are made of composite materials and coated with fire retardant-not fire proof-paint. The side cowlings were consumed by fire. The inspection of the aircraft did not reveal what initiated the loss of engine power and subsequent in-flight fire. The total airframe time was 50 total hours and the engine time was 27 hours. An examination of a new production Stemme S10-VT motorglider revealed the following: 1) The forward and aft firewalls contained openings which did not incorporate fireproof grommets, bushings, or firewall fittings. 2) Rubber fuel lines and fittings within the engine compartment were not sealed or clamped to prevent exposure to engine fires. Rubber fuel lines and plastic fuel filters were mounted against the forward side of the engine firewall. 3) The carburetors and other associated fuel system components were located directly over unprotected exhaust system components. 4) The forward, top, and aft sides of the Stemme S10-VT engine compartment are made of 0.040-inch-thick stainless steel sheet metal. The sides and bottom of the engine compartment are made of composite material. The Stemme S10-VT is manufactured in Germany and certified in accordance with the JAR-22, Joint Airworthiness Requirements for Sailplanes and Powered Sailplanes, effective through Change 4, including 22.375 of Amendment 22/90/1. The Type Certificate No. G06CE, for the Stemme S10-VT, was issued by the FAA on September 22, 1997. The FAA is responsible for certifying the aircraft in the United States.

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

The cause of the loss of engine power and in-flight fire was undetermined.

Full narrative available

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