ERA09LA383
ERA09LA383

On July 7, 2009, at 1230 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Rans S5 Coyote airplane, N284AH, registered to and operated by a private owner, as a Title 14 Code of Federal regulations Part 91 personal flight, lost engine power while in cruise flight in the vicinity of Greeneville, Tennessee. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage and the private pilot reported minor injuries. The flight originated from a private airstrip in Morristown, Tennessee at 1200.

The pilot stated he was descending through 2,500 feet mean sea level (msl) when the engine lost total power. He started the engine and it lost power again. The pilot initiated a forced landing by turning right towards an open field. He stalled the airplane about 100 feet msl while concentrating on clearing obstacles in the forced landing area.

The registered owner stated he purchased the airplane from an estate on January 19, 2009. The airplane had 4.9 hours at the time of purchase. The last condition inspection was conducted on June 27, 2009, and the total time on the airplane was 6 hours. The engine had 10 total hours and the airplane had been flown about 1 hour since the last condition inspection.

Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with the ground in a nose down attitude and spun to the left, coming to rest on a heading of 320 degrees magnetic.

The nose gear was bent aft and the composite propeller blades were folded back. The spinner did not exhibit any signs of rotation. The engine assembly remained attached to the airframe and the engine cowling was not separated.

The forward cabin area received structural damage. The throttle was at idle. The mixture was full rich. No carburetor heat is installed on the airplane. The fuel selector valve, located behind the pilot, was in the on position. The right main fuel tank shutoff valve was in the on position. The left main fuel tank shutoff valve was in the off position. The left and right shutoff valves were marked correctly, manually operated, and functioned. The left and right main landing gear were bent upward. Continuity of the flight controls was confirmed from the cabin area aft to all flight control surfaces.

Examination of the right wing revealed mud on the leading edge, approximately 5 feet inboard from the wing tip. The leading edge of the right wing was not damaged. The right aileron was not damaged and remained attached to its attachment points. The flaps were not extended. The right wing strut was not damaged and remained attached to the wing and the fuselage attachment point. The right main fuel tank was not ruptured and had about 1/2 gallon of fuel remaining in the fuel tank. No fuel leakage was present on the ground.

The empennage, located behind the pilot seat, received structural damage. The horizontal stabilizers, vertical fin, and rudder were not damaged.

Examination of the left wing revealed no damage. The leading edge of the left wing was not damaged. The left aileron was not damaged and remained attached to its attachment points. The flaps were not extended. The wing strut was not damaged and remained attached to the wing and the fuselage attachment point. The left main fuel tank was not ruptured and had about 5 gallons of fuel in the tank. Three to three and one-half gallons of fuel were drained in order to transport the airplane for further examination. There was no fuel leakage present on the ground.

The crankshaft was rotated by hand. Valve and drive train continuity was confirmed, and continuity was established with all accessory gears. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Test for spark was conducted and spark was present. The fuel lines were examined and found free of blockage.

Review of the Rans S5 Coyote specifications and performance data indicates the maximum gross weight of the airplane is 587 pounds. The stall speed of the airplane in a clean configuration with the Rotax 503 engine is 31 mph. The stall speed with flaps extended is 27 mph.

The pilot stated to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he observed the fuel shutoff valves, in the fuel line from each tank, in the open position during his preflight inspection. First responders who responded to the accident site stated they cut the battery cable on the airplane. No other buttons or switches were disturbed.

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