On February 11, 1995, at 1915 mountain standard time, a Varga Aircraft Corporation 2150A, N56180, collided with mountainous terrain 18 miles east of Yuma, Arizona, following a loss of engine power. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot and was on a cross-country student solo instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed in the collision sequence. The student pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The flight originated at Yuma, Arizona, on the day of the accident at 1200 hours, flew to Eloy, Arizona, and was returning to Yuma when the accident occurred. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot is a retired military aviator who was in the process of qualifying for a civilian pilot certificate. According to his statement, the fuel tanks were full at departure from Yuma. The pilot did not refuel at Eloy following arrival at 1323. He stated that prior to departure at 1745, he visually looked inside the tanks and estimated that about 20 gallons were available. The fuel capacity of the aircraft is 33 gallons usable. The total elapsed flight time from departure at Yuma until the accident was calculated to be about 2 hours 53 minutes.
The pilot stated that about 39 miles from Yuma he contacted Yuma approach for radar advisories. Shortly thereafter, the engine quit. The aircraft was over a mountainous area without suitable landing areas and the aircraft collided with the mountainous terrain. A search and rescue helicopter from the U.S. Marine Corps base at Yuma responded to the site and rescued the pilot.
According to the aircraft retrieval firm who recovered the wreckage from the accident site, the fuel system was intact with no evidence of leakage. Only residual fuel was found in the fuel tanks. The fuel lines to the carburetor did not contain fuel.
A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector from the Scottsdale, Arizona, Flight Standards District Office examined the aircraft. He reported that he did not find any discrepancies with the airframe or engine. The fuel tank sending units were tested and found to function correctly.