NTSB Identification: CHI02LA139.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 20, 2002 in Grant, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Wattier Tornado, registration: N5143C
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was substantially damaged following a total non-mechanical loss of engine power during a climbout in an experimental amateur built airplane which had not flown for approximately two years. It was the pilot's first flight in the accident airplane. The pilot planned to fly three low approaches to familiarize himself with the airplane. The engine quit during climbout following the second planned approach at the destination airport. The pilot then executed a turn back to the airport and stalled the airplane over a wooded area. The airplane's parachute recovery system was deployed, and the airplane descended into the wooded area. Prior to the flight, the pilot was told by the mechanic, who signed off a condition inspection on the airplane, to replace the fuel lines on the airplane, but the pilot stated he would change the fuel lines when he arrived at the destination airport. Examination of the fuel line revealed a crack in the line between the fuel tanks and the fuel sump.

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

The disregarded replacement of the airplane's fuel lines, the operation of the aircraft with known deficiencies, and the turn back to the departure airport by the owner/pilot. The inadequate condition inspection by the mechanic, the cracked fuel line, the trees, and the pilot's lack of experience in the airplane type were contributing factors.

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