SEA03LA011
SEA03LA011

On November 23, 2002, approximately 1240 Pacific standard time, an experimental Peterson Dragonfly, N2448, impacted the terrain during an attempted forced landing in a rough field about three miles west of Mulino, Oregon. The student pilot, who was the sole occupant, received serious injuries, and the aircraft, which was built, owned, and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, which departed Mulino Airport, Mulino, Oregon, about 10 minutes prior to the accident, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed. The ELT, which was activated by the accident sequence, was turned off at the scene.

According to the pilot, the aircraft's engine stopped suddenly while he was on a short flight to the west of Mulino. After the engine stopped, the pilot tried applying carburetor heat and then attempted a restart. When the engine did not start, he switched to the header tank and made sure that his electric fuel pump was on, and then tried a restart again, with no success. After attempting a third unsuccessful start, the pilot elected to attempt a forced landing in a nearby field. Although the pilot was able to make it to the field without engine power, during the touchdown on the very rough terrain, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

A post-accident inspection of the aircraft by the owner and an FAA Airworthiness inspector found no indication that there had been any anomaly or malfunction in the engine. A further inspection of the aircraft's systems revealed that the pilot had altered the fuel system from that described in the aircraft plans. The alteration performed by the pilot allowed fuel to be transferred to the header tank from a fuel line downstream of the gascolator bowl by way of an electrical fuel pump. In further discussions with the owner, the FAA inspector determined that just prior to the loss of power the pilot had turned on the subject pump. According to the inspector, both he and the owner agreed that the loss of power was due to the engine being starved of fuel when the pump was turned on in order to transfer fuel to the header tank.

The aircraft, which had been manufactured in 2001, had been flown a total of about two hours.

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