On February 1, 1997, about 1226 eastern standard time, a homebuilt, Velocity 173 RG, N525V, registered to a private owner, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, near Valkaria, Florida. The private-rated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed in the vicinity, and no flight plan had been filed. The local personal flight was being conducted in accordance with Title 14 CFR Part 91.

While maneuvering, the pilot stated the airplane's engine lost power. The pilot attempted a forced landing back to the airport, and struck trees about 1/2 mile short of the runway.

According to the pilot's statement, after departure he turned towards a practice area near Valkaria Airport. He stated that, "everything was operating normal, 2500 RPM, 155 knots...2,000 [feet] MSL." He then turned north and contacted the ATC Tower at Melbourne Airport that he was inbound for landing, when "immediately the engine quit abruptly...no sputtering or gradual loss of RPM." He turned the airplane back towards Valkaria Airport, "in hopes of deadsticking [sic] it onto the runway." The flight landed short of runway 14, and impacted into palmettos and pine trees.

The engine from N525V was examined and run at a private hangar at the Melbourne Airport, under the supervision of the FAA, on February 12, 1997. The examination and engine run did not reveal any discrepancies.

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