On November 7, 1993, about 1625 eastern standard time, a Lovern Pitts S1C, N55SR, registered to S and R Aviation Enterprises, Inc., collided with a power line, tree, then the ground near Miami, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from Richards Field, Homestead, Florida, about 25 minutes earlier. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that before departure during the airplane preflight, he observed that the lower fuel tank quantity sight gauge indicated that the tank contained about 10 gallons of fuel. He did not mention in either a written statement or telephone interview that he verified the sight gauge indication by looking in the fuel tank.
The flight departed and when it was east of the Kendal-Tamiami Executive Airport, the engine sputtered. He pushed the mixture control full rich and applied full throttle, which restored engine power. He then advised Tamiami Tower personnel of the engine malfunction and was given a vector to fly direct to the airport. While proceeding to the airport, the engine sputtered. Attempts to restore power were unsuccessful. Unable to maintain altitude he initiated an emergency descent for a forced landing. During the descent the airplane collided with a power line, tree, then the ground. The airplane came to rest laying on its left side. According to the police report, debris from the airplane damaged two vehicles. The duration of the flight was .28 hour, indicated by the tachometer.
An FAA operations inspector arrived at the accident site about 35 minutes after the accident and reported that he did not see any evidence of fuel leakage on the ground nor did he smell fuel. Additionally, a lieutenant with the fire department stated that his unit was the first to arrive at the accident site and he did not observe any fuel leakage from the airplane. He also stated that the fuel quantity sight gauge indicated empty and that he did observe an oil stain on the ground beneath the engine. A police officer who also responded to the accident site stated that he observed the oil stain on the ground below the engine assembly but did not observe any fuel leaking from the airplane.
A witness who stated she is an FAA certificated pilot told an FAA inspector that she witnessed the accident. After the accident she asked the pilot why he was landing on the road to which he responded that he ran out of fuel.
An individual called the NTSB investigator-in-charge after reading an article in a local newspaper in which the pilot was disputing preliminary NTSB findings. The individual stated that he witnessed the accident and when he arrived at the accident site, the pilot was still in the airplane. He stated that he did observe oil leakage below the engine assembly but did not observe any fuel leaking from the airplane. He further stated that he was not interviewed at the scene.
The airplane was taken to a facility for storage and was examined by several FAA airworthiness inspectors 2 days after the accident. Examination of the airplane revealed that it had two fuel tanks installed. The upper fuel tank was marked, which indicates it has a 5-gallon capacity and the lower tank is marked indicating a 19-gallon capacity. The upper fuel tank selector valve was in the closed position and the lower fuel tank selector valve was in the open position. Both fuel tank caps were installed and the upper fuel tank was damaged although the tank was not compromised. The lower fuel tank was not compromised. The sump drain for the lower tank was opened and about 1 cup of fuel was drained. The sump drain for the upper tank was opened and no fuel drained. The fuel line from the engine-driven fuel pump to the fuel servo was disconnected at the fuel pump and a small quantity (several drops) were drained. The fuel line from the fuel servo to the fuel distribution valve was removed and no fuel was noted. The total quantity of fuel drained was about 8 ounces of fuel.
The airplane was transferred to another storage facility and several months after the accident, with the airplane in an upright, level attitude, the lower fuel tank was filled with water. Leakage on the floor was indicated from a damaged fuel line attached to the right main landing gear. The fuel line is reportedly the overboard expansion drain line. The fuel quantity site gauge correctly indicated full.
A flight log which documents airplane operation and fuel servicing is attached to this report. Review of the log revealed that the airplane had been operated for .96 hour, indicated by the tachometer, since the last documented fuel servicing. The pilot stated that fuel servicing was not always recorded in the log.