On April 2, 1997, at 1700 eastern standard time, N53ET, a Theis Quickie, a homebuilt airplane, was substantially damaged after it impacted terrain near Fostoria, Ohio. The certificated airline transport pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the local, personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated in Fostoria, Ohio.

According to the pilot, shortly after takeoff from runway 27, at 100 feet AGL, the engine lost power. During the forced landing in a wheat field, the airplane nosed over.

The airplane was examined at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector. The examination revealed fuel in the fuel line, and in the carburetor. Engine continuity was confirmed; however, there was no spark when the engine was rotated by hand.

Examination of the cockpit ignition switch revealed that the two wires that provide battery power to the engine ignition unit were separated from the switch. When the two wires were re-connected, the ignition system operated satisfactory.

The ignition switch was located in the instrument panel, which was a part of the canopy that rotated approximately 90 degrees when it opened. The wire routing, from the switch to the engine ignition unit ran along the right side of the cockpit, the same side the canopy was hinged. There was impact damage in this area, and it was not determined if the wires separated during the impact.

According to the FAA, the wire routing was observed to be tight, without much slack to accommodate the travel of the switch when the canopy was opened. When the canopy was opened, there was stress on the ignition wires, and on the switch.

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