MIA04LA075
MIA04LA075

On April 16, 2004, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Richard A. Denisar RV-4, experimental/amateur built airplane, N199RD, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR part 91 personal flight, crashed shortly after takeoff, in Pasco County, near Spring Hill, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The private-rated pilot received serious injuries, one passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that when he initiated his flight from Winter Haven, Florida, he did not drain any fuel, or check for water as part of his pre-departure preparations. He further stated that he then flew the airplane to Pilot Country Airport, near Spring Hill, Florida, landed, and walked around for about 1.5 hours, looking for a home to purchase in the fly-in community. As he was getting ready to leave, he said he noticed a sign, warning not to spill any fuel, so he elected not to perform a preflight inspection. He and his passenger got into the airplane, and he said he performed a run up, checked the magnetos, and did other "inside the cockpit" preparations before departure. As he took off on runway 36, he lifted off at 65 mph, but said he did not immediately climb. He flew the airplane about 2/3 of the length of the runway, at an altitude of about 15 or 20 feet to get one last look at the homes, and also to wave at some people with whom he had spoken. When he pitched the airplane's nose up, he said that at that time the engine started to sputter, as if the airplane was running out of fuel. He said reached forward and immediately switched the fuel selector valve from the right tank to the left tank, and the engine sputtered for another second and then ceased operating. The pilot made a forced landing to a field, and during the landing the airplane incurred damage. The pilot said that the engine ceased operating because of the presence of water in the fuel.

An FAA Inspector who responded to the accident stated that after his brief initial on scene inspection, the pilot/owner removed the airplane from field. The inspector further stated that after removing the airplane the pilot/owner removed the engine, instrument panel, and empennage and transported these portions of the airplane via a u-haul truck to his home in New Jersey. According to the inspector, the pilot had also disconnected the wings and left them along with remaining portions of the fuselage.

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