CHI96LA023
CHI96LA023

On October 29, 1995, at 1730 eastern standard time (est), an Aeronca 7AC, N84124, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when after takeoff from a touch and go landing the airplane's engine quit. The airplane subsequently impacted the terrain after the pilot attempted to land on the opposite runway. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operated under 14 CFR Part 91. A flight plan was not on file. The pilot reported minor injuries to himself and his passenger. The airplane was on a local flight which took off from Lapeer, Michigan, at 1200 est.

In his written statement, the pilot reported the airplane had climbed to about 500 feet above ground level after takeoff on runway 27 when the engine lost power. He determined that he had enough altitude to turn the airplane around and land on the opposite runway. "There was a west wind of about 10 miles an hour." When the airplane crossed the approach end of runway 09 "the engine started running again." The pilot stated that the airplanes's nose down attitude must have allowed what remaining fuel he had in the system to reach the engine. Before the pilot could close the throttle, "the airplane ballooned into the air." With the tailwind and extra altitude, the pilot determined that he would not be able to land the airplane without running off the end of the runway. He then decided to attempt a landing on runway 32, the airport's diagonal runway. This maneuver required the pilot to execute a left 130 degree heading change at low altitude and airspeed. Concerned with a tree line ahead of him which ran parallel to runway 32, the pilot tightened his turn. At approximately 10 to 20 feet above ground level, the airplane "stalled," impacted the terrain left wing first and came to rest on runway 32.

The pilot also reported in his written statement that the airplane had two gallons of fuel on board at the last takeoff.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the wreckage found no evidence of fuel at the accident site. Examination of the airplane's fuel system showed no indications of fuel in the carburetor, fuel lines or tank prior to impact. The airplane did not have a fuel quantity gage installed.

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