NTSB Identification: DEN05LA121.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 07, 2005 in Fort Collins, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Sheel Vans RV-8, registration: N5754S
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 departed runway 33. During the initial climb out, the airplane made a steep roll to the left, pitched down, descended and impacted terrain. A witness said he saw the airplane "in a high left bank like it was trying to land on runway 15. Suddenly, the plane made an abrupt (steep) descent (approximately 45 degrees) nose down. About 50 feet above the ground, it seemed the pilot tried to level off. The plane impacted the ground at a lower angle of attack (I would say 15-20 degrees). An FAA inspector, who was at the airport but did not witness the accident, immediately responded to the accident site. He said he found the fuel selector valve on the left tank and the left fuel tank was empty. The right fuel tank contained approximately "one inch" of fuel. One blade of the propeller was bent under the engine cowling, and the other was slightly damaged. The engine had been extensively modified. Disassembly revealed continuity and compression of all cylinders. The left magneto produced spark when turned. In place of a right magneto, the airplane was equipped with an automotive electronic ignition. All eight spark plugs were of the automotive-type. There was no fuel in the engine-driven fuel pump, electrically-driven fuel pump, or fuel injectors. The engine data recorder was sent to the manufacturer. Data downloaded was found to be corrupt and meaningless.

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

the pilot inadvertently stalling the airplane and descending into the ground. Contributing factors were the pilot's inadequate preflight planning/preparation and his failure to refuel the airplane, resulting in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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