NYC94LA142
NYC94LA142

On July 31, 1994, at 1230 eastern daylight time, an EAA Biplane, N35AE, owned and piloted by Mr. Kenneth Kushi, of Canaan, Connecticut, struck trees during a forced landing, after the engine lost power during takeoff from Segalla Field, a private airport in North Canaan, Connecticut. The pilot received minor injuries and the airplane received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight which was operated under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Accident Report, the pilot stated:

Ran up engine on ground...tookoff to east, climbed to approx 400-500 ft, engine started to loose power, RPM drop off. Tried carb heat, was going to hit primer, but trees coming up and was trying to get over corn, when left wing struck tree, actually both wings hit some parts of tree approx 20 ft from corn....

According to the FAA:

...water was found in the line going from the carburetor to the fuel strainer and the carburetor bowl. Also the fuel sump bowl, damaged upon impact, appear to contain traces of water...[the pilot] uses auto-gas in his aircraft and had some before the flight. The fuel in this can contained no visible contaminants....

Post accident investigation found that the fuel tank was flat on the bottom and a line ran from the middle of the tank to the fuel stainer.

At the request of the NTSB Investigator, the owner placed the fuselage in a three point attitude and conducted a test described below:

...with airplane in 3 point (normal) [ground] attitude and fuel tank empty, fuel was poured into tank from a calibrated container. It took approximately 2 1/2 pints (40 ounces plus) before fuel started to flow from normal fuel valve....

In a letter, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) stated:

...EAA Biplane plans have not been sold by EAA since 1973...The drawings themselves included a pictorial cut-away by John Matthews showing a J-3 Club tank in the isometric with a fuel pick-up located in the center of the tank instead of rearward on the tank which would be normal. Also, typically for the era in which those plans were drawn, there is no fuel schematic drawing anywhere in the plans. The plans were created in 1957 with additions in 1966 and 1968. Quite frankly, in that era, the details such as fuel schematics were left up to the builder. The principal reason for that was the builders of that time were usually A&P mechanics or others quite familiar with aircraft construction.

...The systems in that era typically had the drain at the rear of the tank or used something like the Taylorcraft tank where the tank sloped down sharply from the aft section to the forward section, and there was no problem with draining the fuel from the lowest section....

The airplane carried an experimental airworthiness certificate. The airplane was not required to meet specified airworthiness standards contained in 14 CFR PART 21, CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR PRODUCTS AND PARTS, and 14 CFR PART 43, MAINTENANCE, PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, REBUILDING, AND ALTERATION. Additionally, there was no requirement for the design to contains details of the fuel system.

The airplane was built by another individual, prior to its acquisition by the current owner/pilot.

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