FTW03LA023
FTW03LA023

On October 22, 2002, approximately 1800 central daylight time, a Beech A23 single-engine airplane, N1451L, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during takeoff initial climb from a private airstrip near Farmington, Arkansas. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 maintenance test flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The 200-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he was conducting taxi tests on the runway (a 2,200 foot-long grass runway), "trying to warm the engine up." On the third test, the airplane "went too far down the runway and [the pilot] was forced to takeoff." At an approximate altitude of 25 feet agl, "the engine lost power." Subsequently, the airplane landed hard in a field coming to rest up-right.

The pilot, who is a certificated airframe and power plant mechanic, stated in the "Mechanical Malfunction Failure" section of the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, that the "mechanical fuel pump seal failed."

Examination of the airplane, by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector (FAA), who responded to the accident site, revealed that the main landing gear had been displaced into the fuselage, resulting in structural damage to the airframe.

An FAA inspector reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, that while he was refueling his personal airplane, the pilot of the accident aircraft recognized him as an Aviation Safety Inspector. The pilot started a brief conversation with the inspector, stating that he recently had a fuel pump problem on his airplane and how to possibly recover losses from a recent aircraft accident. During this discussion, the pilot informed the inspector that during a recent annual inspection, the fuel pump on his airplane was "bad." After replacing the old fuel pump, the new fuel pump "only developed 10 psi." The pilot decided to conduct a test flight on the airplane. The pilot mentioned that he replaced the fuel filters and fuel lines in attempt to get a better fuel pressure reading with no success. During one of the test flights, "he [the pilot] crashed the airplane."

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