LAX05LA319
LAX05LA319

On September 27, 2005, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Rose Kitfox, N656T, experienced a loss of engine power after takeoff, and collided with obstacles during a forced landing in an open field southwest of Hesperia Airport (L26), Hesperia, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The noncertificated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed Hesperia about 0957, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was destined for Chino.

According to the pilot, he arrived at CNO and conducted a complete preflight of the airplane that included checking the fuel for contamination. No discrepancies were noted with the preflight, taxi, run-up, or takeoff, or the ensuing flight to Hesperia.

Once he arrived at the airport, he picked up a passenger and flew in the local area for about 45 minutes. After returning to L26 to drop off his passenger, he refueled the airplane with 20 gallons of 100 LL aviation fuel. He departed from L26, runway 21, for the return trip to CNO at 0957. The pilot reported no discrepancies with the engine prior to takeoff. He indicated that the takeoff roll and liftoff were normal, with a 1,000- to 1,200-foot-per-minute climb at 70 miles per hour (mph). The climb out was normal until the engine backfired and quit; he noted the altitude to be about 1,000 to 1,200 feet mean sea level (msl). The pilot looked over his left shoulder to see how far away the airport was and did not believe a return to the airport would be prudent for a safe landing.

The pilot stated that he continued straight ahead, and lowered the nose to maintain best glide. He pulled back the throttle to the start position, and then attempted to restart the engine three times while looking for a suitable off-airport landing spot. He noted a loss of altitude and setup for an emergency landing. The pilot reported that he slowed the airplane down (50-55 mph), and maintained level flight. The right main landing gear touched down first and the airplane was immediately "jerked" to the right. The airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. After coming to a stop, the pilot released himself from his seat restraints and exited the airplane. He reported that after touchdown the right main landing gear had contacted a buried tree stump.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accident coordinator (a principal maintenance inspector) inspected the engine at Chino Airport on October 11, 2005. He identified the engine as a Subaru, EA-81-108-TBI serial number 321982, which was rebuilt by NSI Propulsion Company. Total time on the engine was 67.9 hours. During the visual examination he reported that the air filter was not attached to the intake stack and was deformed. He also noted a loose wire to the master ignition relay for the ignition system. There were no other mechanical anomalies noted with the engine inspection. In order to facilitate an engine ground run, the accident coordinator tightened the wire, and added engine oil. The engine started and ran normally. He reported that the loose master ignition relay caused the engine to backfire and stall.

The pilot held a student pilot certificate that expired in 2001.

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