NTSB Identification: DFW08CA016.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2007 in Magnolia, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Ward RC 350 HP, registration: N901RC
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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 3,000-hour private pilot reported that the experimental single-engine airplane was in cruise flight at 1,500 feet on a VFR cross-country when heat and smoke began to enter the cockpit. In a written statement, the pilot/owner stated that a steel-braided fuel line/hose ruptured and subsequently sprayed fuel on the exhaust and ignition wires, which caused intense heat that burned a hole thru the airplane's firewall. The pilot added that he immediately elected to initiate a forced landing to a field, and shortly before the airplane touched-down, the engine stopped producing power. The airplane landed short of the field and the left wing collided with two large fence posts and ruptured the fuel tank, which caused it to explode. The pilot and the two passengers exited the airplane from the right side before the airplane was completely consumed by fire. The pilot reported that the airplane's maintenance logbooks were onboard the airplane and were destroyed by the fire. He also stated that the fuel line was approximately three-years old, and he did not know how the rupture could have been prevented. The homebuilt airplane was reported to have accumulated a total of 677-hours and was powered by a 350 cubic inche Chevrolet engine.

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

The in-flight fire and loss of engine power as a result of a ruptured fuel line for undetermined reasons. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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