ATL93LA104
ATL93LA104

On June 5, 1993, at about 1600 eastern daylight time, a Hatz CB1, N4426V, collided with a tree following a reported engine power loss during takeoff from a farm field in Stedman, North Carolina. The private pilot had minor injuries in the accident, and a passenger was not injured. The experimental, home built aircraft was substantially damaged. The aircraft was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight to Fayetteville, North Carolina. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported the following: He was conducting the return leg of a cross country flight. At his last departure point, which was Clinton, North Carolina, he did not service the aircraft with fuel. As he overflew the Stedman area, he became concerned about the remaining fuel in the aircraft. He observed a grass strip below, and performed a landing. The strip turned out to be a farm field. He purchased five gallons of gasoline from a farmer, and serviced the wing tank. He then manually raised the tail of the airplane in an attempt to drain fuel into the header tank. He then ran the engine for a few minutes, and elected to continue the flight. During the initial climb after takeoff, the engine lost power. The pilot was unable to maintain altitude, and the aircraft settled into a tall tree, where it came to rest.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration visited the accident site and reported the following: The normal procedure after adding fuel to the aircraft is to manually raise the aircraft tail to a level flight attitude, which will allow main tank fuel to drain into the header tank, then to the engine. The main fuel tank drain was positioned improperly, so that when the tail of the aircraft was lifted, the fuel did not sufficiently drain, resulting in trapped fuel.

The pilot reported that the total amount of fuel on board the aircraft at the last takeoff was approximately 10 gallons (automotive gasoline). The total time on the airframe at the time of the accident was about 149 hours.

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