WPR10LA310
WPR10LA310

On June 23, 2010, at 1006 mountain daylight time, a Rice KR-2 experimental amateur-built airplane, N44729, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power on takeoff from the Richfield Municipal Airport (RIF), Richfield, Utah. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the inaugural personal flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

According to several witnesses, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane and brought it to Richfield by trailer. He had a resident mechanic perform a condition inspection on the aircraft; the maintenance records were signed off on June 23, 2010. The pilot did several long static engine runs on the ground and then planned to perform several high speed taxi runs on the 6,600-foot-long runway (elevation 5,301 feet; density altitude of 6,706 feet).

The pilot performed his first high-speed taxi on runway 19. He did become airborne, but immediately set the airplane down and came to a stop. He reversed course and performed a second high-speed taxi, with a tail wind, on runway 01. This time when the airplane became airborne, the pilot reported that he ran out of runway and decided to fly it around the pattern. Witness reported that when the airplane lifted off, its initial pitch up appeared "excessive."

The pilot reported that when he got to about 250 feet, the engine began to lose power and the airplane was descending. He turned back towards the runway's midpoint to land on runway 19, when the right wing suddenly dropped and impacted the airport's perimeter fence. Upon impacting terrain, the pilot was thrown from the airplane and came to rest approximately 50 feet beyond the wreckage. The aircraft came to rest inverted with its engine broken off and under the fuselage. The left wing was broken at the wing root, but not separated from the fuselage.

The two-place, side-by-side airplane was built in 1985 and was powered by a Volkswagen engine. The engine had a redundant ignition system, half was electronic and half was a magneto. Fuel was introduced into the engine by a slide-type carburetor. Records found with the airplane indicate that it was first flown on November 10, 1995. The first pilot to fly the airplane reported that it was "pitch sensitive" and easy to over control. He said the airplane required constant left rudder pressure while in flight. The airplane had approximately 150 flight hours on it by the time of the accident.

The pilot said the airplane was "short coupled" and was "squirrelly" to handle on the ground. He said that when he first got airborne it ran "decent." When he got to an altitude of about 250 feet agl, the engine began to lose power. He said that he thought it was running rich, because the engine's rpm continued to drop from 4,000 to about 2,000.

Postaccident examination of the engine by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector and the resident mechanic found the carburetor to be "very gummed up and did not operate freely." Additionally, the spark plugs appeared to have excessive carbon on them. During the examination of the airplane, other than condition of the carburetor and spark plugs, no preimpact mechanical anomalies were found.

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