On September 15, 2011, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Dacey Venture, N521XD, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power during takeoff initial climb from the Reno/Stead Airport (RTS), Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local air race flight that was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that during takeoff initial climb, he retracted the landing gear and began his normal climb out. Shortly after, the engine lost power. Following his unsuccessful attempt to troubleshoot the engine at a low altitude, he initiated a forced landing to an open area to the right side of the runway. Subsequently, the airplane landed hard and came to rest upright. The pilot added that he chose to land off the runway due to other aircraft departing behind him and he was unsure of their locations.
The pilot further reported that an anti-detonant injection (ADI) system was computer controlled, and had been installed in the airplane for about four years prior. He said that the ADI system was designed to engage when engine manifold pressure passed 40 inches and continued to operate to a race power setting. The pilot stated that he typically armed the ADI system after takeoff during cruise flight, however, decided to arm the system prior to takeoff on the accident flight. The pilot felt that after the ADI system activated during takeoff, it may have flooded the engine when he reduced engine power to maintain airspeed to allow him to retract the landing gear.
The ADI system installed on the accident airplane was configured to inject a methanol and water mixture into the engine in order to assist in the prevention of cylinder detonation.
Examination of the airplane by the IIC revealed that it had come to rest upright about 500 feet north of runway 26 within the air race course safety area. The left wing was partially separated and the fuselage was buckled aft of the cockpit. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.
Examination of the recovered IO-550-C (EXP) fuel injected engine, serial number 271780, revealed that all engine accessories remained attached to their respective mounts. All six cylinders remained attached to the engine crankcase. The top spark plugs were removed and the internal areas of each cylinder were examined using a lighted borescope. All piston heads and internal areas of the cylinders exhibited no damage and were unremarkable. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand. Thumb compression was obtained on all six cylinders and mechanical continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies were observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation.