NTSB Identification: CHI02LA260.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 25, 2002 in Garden Prairie, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Anderson Kitfox Series 5, registration: N743JT
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.
The aircraft collided with transmission wires during a forced landing following a complete loss of engine power. The power loss occured 7 miles from the intended destination. En route, approximately 150 nm from the destination, the pilot reported that his "fuel site gauges indicated 1/2 tank in right wing and just under 1/2 tank in left" wing. Based on this, he calculated remaining fuel at about 11 gallons, which he determined was sufficient to complete remainder of the flight. The pilot notes in his statement, that he began a slow descent, in preparation to enter the traffic pattern. According to the pilot: "With 7 NM showing on the GPS, ... and while passing 2,000 [feet] MSL the engine stopped." He reported that he attempted a restart, "but soon felt the controls get mushy," and decided to focus his attention on a setting up for a forced landing. He reported that the aircraft was "topped off" with 22 gallons of fuel prior to departure. The previous flight lasted 3.6 hours, with a fuel burn of 6.1 gallons per hour (gph), as calculated by the pilot. The accident flight was 3.8 hours. Based on information from the kit manufacturer, the fuel tank configuration installed in the accident aircraft consisted of two 13 gallon wing tanks and a header tank. The wing tanks had an unusable fuel quantity of about 2-1/2 gallons per tank -- 5 gallons total -- when in a descent (nose down attitude). In this configuration, the "fuel tends to run forward, away from the tank outlet, and during those periods fuel will be provided by the engine from the supply in the header tank," according to a service letter issued by the kit manufacturer. The pilot reported the capacity of the header was 3/4 gallon. After a flight of 3.8 hours, at a fuel burn rate of 6.1 gph, approximately 2.8 gallons remained in the wing tanks. The endurance of the 3/4 gallon header tank was approximately 7 minutes, at 6.1 gph. At a ground speed of 120 knots, this equates to about 14 miles. The pilot reported that his descent began 20 miles from the airport, and the engine quit 7 miles from the airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's miscalculation of fuel consumption and his operation of the fuel system beyond its limitation, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors were transmission wires and dark night conditions. Full narrative available
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