NTSB Identification: ERA12LA285
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 15, 2012 in Salem, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2013
Aircraft: WILLOUGHBY PETE A STREAK SHADOW, registration: N2828W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was attempting the first flight since the airplane was damaged in an accident about 2 years earlier and then “rebuilt.” Shortly after takeoff, the engine sputtered and lost all power. While the pilot was attempting to maneuver for a forced landing, the airplane collided with trees and terrain, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe and serious injuries to the pilot. Examination of the engine and fuel system revealed that the pistons were severely scored, indicative of a seizure. Examinations revealed that nonaviation tie wraps were used to secure the fuel lines to various fittings, and, in one location, no clamp was used. The airplane was equipped with an in-line fuel flow transducer. Disassembly of the engine revealed that the transducer incorporated a 2-millimeter (mm) jet. According to the engine manufacturer, no device with a diameter smaller than 5 mm should be installed anywhere in the fuel system. The transducer was installed on a test engine, and the engine ran normally up to 7,100 rpm with the 2-mm jet. When a small amount of air was introduced into the lines to replicate a poorly secured or unsecured fuel line, low fuel pressure and fluctuating rpm resulted, and subsequent examinations of the pistons showed signs of scoring damage.

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

A total loss of engine power due to a piston seizure that resulted from a fuel system restriction and poorly secured fuel lines. Contributing to the accident were the pilot/builder’s failure to follow the engine manufacturer procedures and his use of nonaviation parts to secure fuel lines.

Full narrative available

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