NTSB Identification: CEN12LA530
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 07, 2012 in Oshkosh, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: WILLIAMS JOHN T-51 MUSTANG, registration: N151TA
Injuries: 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.

Shortly after takeoff for a test flight, the pilot noticed that the airplane was not climbing as expected and the engine was slowly losing power. The coolant temperature was 225 degrees and the airplane was only 250 to 300 feet above ground level. During the return to the airport, the pilot heard and felt an explosion behind him and felt a burning sensation on his back. During the forced landing, the right main landing gear collapsed. Examination of the airplane revealed that a cooling line had separated from the radiator behind the pilot during the accident flight. The examination also revealed that the radiator hose line clamp for a different cooling hose was overtightened and not seated properly in its pipe bead. A replacement engine had been installed as a result of a blown head gasket during a previous flight; however, the cooling system was not replaced, and it could not be determined when the clamp was overtightened. An examination of the remaining systems revealed no anomalies.

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

The separation of an engine cooling hose from the radiator.

Full narrative available

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