On January 20, 1998, at 1550 central standard time, a Palermo Challenger II experimental airplane, N266RP, owned and operated by the student pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Erwinville, Louisiana. The solo student pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 flight. The local training flight originated at 1340 from the student pilot's private airstrip.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), which was submitted by the student's flight instructor, the student pilot was practicing touch and go landings, when on downwind, the engine lost power. The student pilot reported that he was "unable to glide to the runway" so he elected to land on an unimproved road. During the landing roll, "due to the crosswind," the airplane "rolled into a drainage ditch."

Examination of the aircraft by the flight instructor, revealed that the fuel pick-up line separated from the fuel tank. After the fuel pick-up line was reconnected to the fuel tank, the instructor test ran the engine on the ground and found it to operate "normally."

The flight instructor reported the aircraft's nose and right main landing gear were damaged, the right wing struts and one rib were bent, and the fuselage fabric was torn near the right main landing gear attachment.

The NTSB was notified of this occurrence in January; however, the damage was reported as minor. The Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report was mailed to the Southeast Field Office in Atlanta, Georgia, and was then forwarded to the South Central Regional Office in Arlington, Texas, where it was received on 09/04/98. The aircraft damage was noted as being substantial. The NTSB records of the occurrence were then changed to indicate an accident.

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