FTW02LA035
FTW02LA035

On November 10, 2001, at 1500 central standard time, a Terry Zenith 801 amateur-built airplane, N54RX, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Manvel, Texas. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. The private pilot, sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from the Clover Field Airport, Friendswood, Texas, at 1410.

The airplane was maneuvering west of Rosharon, Texas, at 1,500 feet msl, at a slow airspeed for 7-8 minutes when the engine lost power. The pilot switched fuel tanks and restarted the engine. The pilot then continued the flight toward the Wolfe Air Park Airport (3T2) located 2 miles northeast of Manvel. Prior to reaching 3T2, the engine again lost power. According to the pilot, "both tanks indicated 1/4+ in fuel quantity." The pilot initiated a forced landing to Highway 6 south of Manvel. Due to traffic on the highway, the pilot had to delay the landing, which resulted in the airplane continuing towards power lines. As the pilot "quickly landed the airplane," the nose landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to a stop upright on the highway.

Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the firewall was buckled, the nose landing gear was folded under the airplane, and one propeller blade was bent aft.

The pilot reported that during the examination of the airplane, "3 inches of fuel was found in both of the fuel tanks, and over 15 gallons of fuel was drained from the airplane. Upon further inspection of the fuel system, no blockages were found in the fuel lines, and the gascolator was clean." The pilot suspects that a vacuum was created in both of the fuel tanks, since there were no fuel tank vents, except for the vents in the fuel caps.

The airplane had accumulated 5 hours at the time of the accident.

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