NTSB Identification: CHI05CA161.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 30, 2005 in Cloverdale, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Mueller Stewart Headwind B, registration: N64MF
Injuries: 1 Minor.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The experimental amateur-built airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during a forced landing following an in-flight loss of engine power on initial climb. The pilot stated, "At [approximately] 250 [feet above ground level] on the climb and over the departure end of the runway, the engine cut out. I immediately leveled off, applied carb heat [and] reduced throttle; the engine 'caught' and I began a left bank turn to provide room for a right turn to land back on our strip; simultaneously, I attempted to gain altitude; the engine cut out again. ... I had insufficient altitude and airspeed to make it over the sign and could not increase my right bank angle, so I went to the left (north) of the sign and impacted the ground at minimum airspeed next to the sign." The engine was test run and no pre-impact anomalies were found with the engine or airframe. The pilot's safety recommendation stated, "This [aircraft] was a recently purchased 'experimental' [aircraft]. During the investigation, we discovered the fuel tanks had only one outlet - in the center on the end of each tank, meaning 1/2 fuel level or less was insufficient in a climb or glide attitude. Had that info been available, the accident could have been avoided!"
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The fuel starvation leading to the loss of engine power during takeoff. Factors were the pilot's insufficient information on the fuel system and the sign that had to be circumnavigated during the forced landing. Full narrative available
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