LAX07CA074
LAX07CA074

On January 20, 2007, about 1315 Pacific standard time, a Quad City Ultralight, Challenger Special (unregistered airplane), experienced a total loss of engine power on final approach to the Haigh Field, Orland, California. The airplane impacted almond trees and broke its wings during the ensuing forced landing in an orchard about 2 miles from the destination airport. The airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial certificated pilot was not injured during the personal flight that was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Lodi, California, about 1030.

The pilot verbally reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he was aware his Challenger Special did not qualify to be operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 103, and technically it was not an ultralight vehicle. According to the pilot, he had departed Lodi with about 9.5 gallons of fuel on board, and the engine lost all power when the fuel was exhausted.

The pilot additionally reported in his completed "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report" that en route the prevailing wind speed increased. Although he could have landed at several airports prior to reaching his destination, his "mind was set to continue" onward, and he attempted to complete the flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration coordinator verbally reported to the Safety Board investigator that he examined the accident airplane. The coordinator stated that the Challenger was not an ultralight vehicle for several reasons including the fact that, contrary to the requirements within 14 CFR Part 103, it had a fuel capacity that exceeded 5 U.S. gallons.

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