SEA07LA005
SEA07LA005

On October 6, 2006, about 1640 Pacific daylight time, an amateur-built experimental-category Hatcher Fisher Celebrity airplane, N635GH, sustained substantial damage following an in-flight loss of engine power and forced water landing near the Anacortes Airport, Anacortes, Washington. The tail-wheel equipped airplane was owned by the pilot, and operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

In a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, the pilot stated the airplane's engine began to lose power (70-80 feet agl) shortly after takeoff. He reported the engine did not entirely stop running, but rather "sputtered" at a significant reduction in power, less than required to sustain flight, and he elected to ditch the airplane into the waters of Puget Sound.

In a written statement, dated October 16, the pilot reported that he completed an engine oil change and ground run prior to the flight. He stated the ground run was 15-20 minutes in duration and no inconsistencies were noted.

The following day the airplane was recovered from the water and moved to a private residence.

Inspectors from the FAA's Seattle Flight Standards District Office examined the wreckage on October 17, 2006, and reported that the engine was intact and no evidence was found to indicate a mechanical failure.

During a follow-up interview with the NTSB IIC on March 6, 2007, the pilot reported that further examination of the engine, to include a teardown, revealed no additional information that could explain the loss of power.

The pilot's most recent FAA medical certificate was issued on August 6, 2002. A current flight review for the pilot could not be verified.



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