On December 27, 1995, at 1615 hours Pacific standard time, a homebuilt experimental Nicholson Sonerai II airplane, N68676, collided with the ground following a loss of power during the takeoff initial climb at Ramona, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The certificated Airline Transport Pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time as a local area personal flight.

The aircraft had not flown over the past 2 years and was recently purchased by the owner. This was the first flight of the aircraft following a condition inspection to return it to service. Review of the aircraft records discloses that the aircraft has been relatively inactive for the last 10 years, and has only flown 83 hours since 1977.

The pilot reported that following a detailed inspection of the aircraft and a prolonged ground run-up, he took off on runway 27. As the aircraft achieved 200 feet over the departure end of the runway, the engine sputtered and lost power. The pilot's attempts to restore power were unsuccessful, and he set up for a forced landing in an adjoining cattle pasture. The engine suddenly began to run at full power again and the pilot turned the aircraft toward the runway. The engine began to surge and the pilot landed in the pasture. The aircraft ground looped after encountering rough terrain.

In his statement, the pilot noted that the engine symptoms led him to believe that "there might have been a fuel flow problem."

The aircraft was initially examined at the accident site by FAA airworthiness inspectors from the San Diego Flight Standards District Office. After recovery from the site, the inspectors performed a detailed engine, airframe, and system examination. Their report is attached.

The discrepancies noted during the inspection were: 1) numbers 1, 3 and 4 spark plugs were carbon fouled and very sooty; 2) no filter cartridge in gascolator (aviation gas used in system and no contaminates were found); 3) magneto drive exhibited excessive wear and no rubber cushioning device was present; 4) ignition lead cap pickups were worn; and 5) the fuel vent was not routed in accordance with the aircraft plans.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page