NTSB Identification: MIA02LA124.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 02, 2002 in Covington, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/06/2002
Aircraft: Mckean Varieze, registration: N57EZ
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 pilot said that he only had about 0.2 hours total flight experience in the accident airplane and during the first flight, the engine surged so he returned to the airport and executed an uneventful landing. After landing, he said he operated the airplane on the ground, trying to determine the cause of the engine surges and was unable to duplicate the problems so he again flew the airplane to see if the surges would reoccur. During the climbout, when the airplane reached 3,700 feet, while in a left turn, "crossing the numbers for runway 01", the pilot said the engine began to surge again, and the engine rpms dropped to 1,600, and any subsequent attempts to control engine power were unsuccessful. He said he extended the downwind in order to dissipate altitude for a forced landing, but he descended below some wires which stretched across his flight path to the airport, so he executed a forced landing to a road short of the runway instead. During the landing the airplane's winglet caught some corn stalks on the side of the road, and the airplane spun around, coming to rest inverted in a corn field, incurring substantial damage. An FAA inspector stated that he and an FAA designated Airworthiness representative examined the accident airplane, and no evidence of mechanical failure or malfunctions were found with any of the airplane systems. The inspector also stated that the designated airworthiness representative told him that he had been present when the pilot was getting ready to take off, and that the fuel selector had been left on the 3-gallon capacity header tank position, and after the accident, while assisting in extricating the pilot from the overturned airplane, the designated representative stated to him that he found the fuel selector still set to the header tank position.

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

The pilot's improper planned approach following loss of engine power due to fuel starvation resulting in damage to the airplane during an off-airport landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of familiarity with the accident airplane.

Full narrative available

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