On May 16, 2005. at 1545 central daylight time, a Homebuilt Experimental Built airplane, N2992, registered to and operated by the commercial pilot, collided with trees shortly after takeoff from runway 24, at the St. Elmo Airport, in St. Elmo, Alabama. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damaged. The flight originated from the St. Elmo, Airport in St. Elmo, Alabama on May 16, 2005, at 1540.

According to witnesses, during takeoff the engine did not seem to be developing full power. At about 250 feet above the ground the airplane banked left and the engine quite. The airplane's bank angle increased and exceeded 90-degrees. The airplane's nose dropped suddenly, the wings leveled and the nose came back to nearly level prior to the airplane colliding with trees in a wooded area. Witness, telephoned the 911 operator reported the accident, and proceeded to the scene to provide assistance.


A review of records on file with the Airmen Certification Branch, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, revealed that the pilot was issued a commercial pilots certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument rating on May 27, 1986. In addition, the pilot was issued a repairman certificate with ratings for experimental aircraft builder on July 14, 1999. The pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on June 03, 2005 with no limitations.


Review of aircraft records on file with the e Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, revealed the amateur built experimental airplane was registered on November 17, 2004.


At 1656, the Mobile Regional Alabama weather reporting facility, located 13 statue miles north of the accident site, reported winds variable at 3 knots, visibility of 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 7000 feet, temperature 28 Celsius, dew-point 12 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of mercury.


Post-accident examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane rested approximately 1500 feet west of the St. Elmo Airport, in a wooded area. The direction of travel at impact was 040 degrees. Examination of the airframe revealed damage to the fuselage and empennage. The landing gear and the right and left wing also exhibited damage. Examination of the engine reveled that the engine was separated from the engine mounts.

Post accident examination of the fuel tanks revealed that both fuel caps were secured and the tanks were not breached. No fuel was found in the right wing tank and the left wing tank contained approximately 6 to 8 gallons of automobile fuel. The fuel selector was observe selected between the both and left position.


The toxicology examinations for the pilot were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.


The fuel selector has three inlet ports (left, right, and both) and four positions (left, right, both, and off). The right fuel tank line was attached to the both port. According to Antare, the manufacturer of the fuel selector, if the selector handle is allowed to rotate to the position between both and left, the fuel output line from the selector valve is connected to both the right and left fuel tank. With only fuel in the left tank the high pressure electric fuel pumps could draw air only from the right tank and no fuel.

When the fuel selector lever was rotated by hand, the detents in the selector valve were very weak and almost unnoticeable.

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