On April 29, 2004, approximately 1830 central daylight time, a Holmes RV-6A single-engine homebuilt airplane, N65RV, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during cruise flight north of the Boerne Stage Field Airport (5C1), near San Antonio, Texas. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries, and the passenger was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from John Henry Key Airport (7TA8), near Boerne, Texas, approximately 1830, and was destined for 5C1.

The 1,591-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that prior to the accident flight, he performed a preflight check verifying the fuel levels in each wing tank using a metered stick. The pilot noted there was approximately 2 gallons of fuel in the right fuel tank, and approximately 8 to 9 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank. The fuel selector was set on the left fuel tank during the previous flight.

After departure, upon reaching a cruise altitude of 2,500 feet msl, he started a turn to the north, and the engine "sputtered, then quit." The pilot turned on the electric boost pump, noticed a suitable field for landing, and continued the turn the field. After leveling the wings on final approach, the engine "came back on," and the pilot stated that he applied full power at an altitude of 200 feet agl, terminating the forced landing. The pilot further reported that the engine "responded well" for a few seconds then began "sputtering," forcing him to lower the nose to maintain airspeed as the airplane descended into trees. The pilot further stated that there "was nowhere to land" so he tried to "dodge" the trees and not stall the airplane. The left wing struck a tree, separating the outboard two feet of the left wing. Subsequently, the engine "came back to life" and produced "full power" as the airplane "lifted out of the trees for a second." The airplane started to roll to the left, but the pilot was able to input "enough aileron to keep it level," as the airplane descended back into the trees. The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude, entangled in trees.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the engine was crushed aft underneath the fuselage. The carburetor was found separated from the engine. The fuselage, empennage, and wings were punctured with tree branches. Both fuel tanks were found breeched, and no visible evidence of fuel was observed at the accident site.

Local authorities, who arrived at the accident site approximately 8 minutes after the accident, reported no evidence of fuel.

The airplane was powered by a four cylinder, horizontally opposed Lycoming O-320-E-2A engine, serial number 29302-27A. The most recent conditional inspection was preformed on April 22, 2004, at a total airframe time of 438 hours, and a total engine time of approximately 2,990 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 10 hours since the most recent conditional inspection.

On April 23, 2004, during a checkout flight prior to purchasing the airplane, the engine driven fuel pump failed. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and replaced with a new unit. On April 29, 2004, during a flight to Lubbock, Texas, prior to the accident flight, the left magneto malfunctioned. The left magneto's capacitor was replaced and the magneto functioned properly.

The reason for the loss of engine power was not determined.

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