On May 21, 2005, about 1400 eastern standard time, a Pitts S1S experimental/amateur-built, N5WD, registered to and operated by a private Individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, caught on fire while being secured following a flight at Lake Wales, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot received minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated from Lake Wales Suzanne Air Strip, Lake Wales, Florida, earlier that day, about 1315. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated while in flight about 6,500 feet, near his departure airport, as he was maneuvering he smelled fuel, and felt a spray of fuel on his leg. He immediately dove the airplane and landed uneventfully. After taxiing to parking, and upon securing the engine, the airplane suddenly became engulfed with flames. He exited the airplane and ran for a fire extinguisher, eventually extinguishing the fire. Damage to the airplane included the fuselage aft of the firewall as well as the upper and lower right wing.
According to the pilot, post-crash examination of the airplane revealed that a fuel line that had become loose and had detached from the fuel servo fitting while inflight. He said that while the propeller was turning, the slipstream kept the fuel away from the exhaust piping, however, once the engine was secured, the fuel leaked on to the exhaust piping and a fire had erupted.
The pilot stated that the airplane's logbook reflected that it had last received an inspection, and had been returned to service on January 20, 2005. He further stated that he purchased the airplane on May 17, 2005, and had only flown it for about 3 or 4 hours since having purchased it.