ERA12LA586
ERA12LA586

On September 20, 2012 about 0940 eastern daylight time, 2L, N127JS, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing at Arthur Dunn Airpark (X21) Titusville, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight.

According to the pilot, while flying at 2,000 feet mean sea level and 20 miles north of X21, he began smelling fuel fumes inside the cockpit. He checked the fuel sight gauge located on the cockpit front panel and there was no indication of fuel inside of the sight gauge. He then made a 180-degree turn back to the airport to land. While on final approach to runway 15, the pilot flew a faster approach than normal due to the urgency of a possible no-fuel situation. The airplane landed long on the 2,000-foot-long runway and the pilot added "I thought I was going to run off the end of the runway so I drifted into the grass on the right side and hit a deep ditch."

The pilot stated that he filled the fuel tank with 7 or 8 gallons of 100 low-lead fuel before the flight and that the fuel tank held a total of 10 gallons. He also stated the fuel tank was full prior to departure. When asked by an NTSB investigator, the pilot could not produce a fuel receipt for any fuel facility in the local area. The fuel facility at X21 also had no record of a fuel purchase from the owner of the airplane.

A postaccident examination of the airplane by a FAA inspector revealed that the landing gear was collapsed, and the frame was bent at the attachment point. The frame around the cockpit exhibited impact crush damage. The FAA examination of the fuel system did not reveal any anomalies or defects and there was no evidence of fuel leakage on the airframe and no blithe was noted on the surrounding vegetation. The fuel tank quantity was visually examined and contained "some" fuel in the tank, although and accurate quantity was unable to be determined. There were no signs of mechanical malfunction or abnormalities noted with the engine. The propeller was inspected and one of the two blades was broken approximately 3 inches outward from the propeller hub. It was also noted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that no fuel pooling or fumes were present at the accident site.

According to the pilot, he reported about 2000 total hours of total flight time and 36 of those hours were in the accident aircraft type. However, since the pilot's log books were not made available this could not be accurately determined. His third class medical certificate was issued on October 31, 2011.

According to FAA records the airplane was an experimental, amateur-built, low wing airplane manufactured in 2005, and was equipped with a Volkswagen 2180cc converted engine. The certificate of registration was issued on January 11, 2011. According to the airplane's maintenance records the most recent annual inspection was completed in November of 2011 with 136 hours of total operation. The airplane and engine had accrued 143 total hours of operation at the time of the accident.

The 0955 recorded weather at the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility (TTS) located approximately 6 nautical miles to the east of the accident site included; wind from 190 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 2000 feet above ground level, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point of 24 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.83 inches of mercury.

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