NTSB Identification: LAX02LA043.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2001 in Marina, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Rominger Zic Zac Bird, registration: N204ED
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.
About 800 feet above ground level during the airplane's roll out turn onto the final approach leg for landing, the right wing spar broke and the wing separated from the airplane. Thereafter, the airplane commenced an uncontrolled descent until impacting an open field. The pilot built the experimental airplane principally from wood and fabric components. A family member reported that the pilot had designed the "one of a kind" airplane and planned to compete for various speed and climb performance records for airplanes having gross weights less than 660 pounds. An examination of the separated right wing's internal structure revealed evidence of a preimpact fuel leak. Styrofoam-like material had been used inside the wing, and it was discolored from fuel. The accident occurred on the first flight since the pilot ground looped the airplane, during which mishap the right wing was damaged. Following the ground loop, fuel leaked from the right wing which weakened the wing's wood structure. The pilot maintained his airplane.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the failure the right wing spar and the subsequent separation of the right wing. Contributing factors were the pilot's inadequate maintenance, and the weakened wing structure due to a preexisting fuel tank leak.
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