NTSB Identification: NYC08LA222
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 20, 2008 in Woodbine, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2010
Aircraft: Dennis P. McGurk F1 Rocket, registration: N623BL
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While performing aerobatics, the engine lost all power. Evidence indicates that the pilot attempted to restart the engine, and that the airplane impacted wires while the pilot attempted to execute a forced landing to a road. The airplane came to rest on the road and was partially consumed by the postcrash fire. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the airframe or engine was discovered. The airplane was equipped with two fuel tanks. The flight manual advised that, “Prolonged uncoordinated flight with low fuel quantities may uncover the fuel tank outlets, causing fuel starvation and engine failure.” The pilot however, had modified the left fuel tank with an inverted fuel system, to allow the engine to operate while the airplane was in unusual attitudes or inverted. Examination of the left fuel tank revealed that it had been modified with the inclusion of a flop tube (a flexible hose with a weight attached at its free end). When the airplane was right side up, the hose would feed fuel from the bottom of the left fuel tank, and when the plane would roll inverted, the weight would cause the hose to flop to the top of the left fuel tank, and feed its fuel from there, allowing the engine to continue to run. Examination of the right side of the fuel system revealed it was similar to the system described in the kit manufacturer’s assembly manual and did not have a flop tube. The floor mounted fuel selector was found set to the right tank.

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

A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's failure to select the proper tank prior to performing aerobatics.

Full narrative available

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