On April 12, 2014, at 1045 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Larsen model Mark V airplane, N87JL, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Amelia, Ohio. The commercial pilot and his pilot-rated-passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight that had departed Clermont County Airport (I69), Batavia, Ohio, at 1035, and was en route to French Lick Municipal Airport (FRH), French Lick, Indiana. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that after an uneventful takeoff from I69, the flight continued to climb toward its initial cruise altitude of 2,500 feet mean sea level (msl). As the flight climbed through 2,100 feet msl, the pilot established cruise-climb by making a reduction to engine power. The pilot reported that shortly after making the power reduction, the engine experienced a sudden loss of power and the propeller stopped rotating. He was unable to restart the engine by isolating the ignition systems and the two fuel pumps. He reported that the propeller would rotate while he engaged the starter, but the engine would not restart. Ultimately, the pilot completed a forced landing on a nearby golf course. After an uneventful touchdown on a fairway, the airplane collided with a sand bunker that preceded the green. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and right wing during the impact sequence. Following the accident, the pilot and his passenger released their restraints and exited the airplane through the cabin doors uninjured.
The pilot reported that the airplane had been topped-off with automotive fuel (26 gallons total capacity) before the previous flight leg from Mount Vernon Airport (MVN), Mount Vernon, Illinois. He stated that the previous flight leg from MVN had consumed about 7 gallons of fuel during the approximately 2 hour flight. He reported that the airplane departed on the accident flight with about 18 gallons of fuel available and expected an average fuel consumption rate of about 3.5 gallons per hour.
An engine examination was completed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors after the wreckage had been recovered to a secured location. The engine, a Subaru model EA-81, was a converted automobile engine. The engine produced suction/compression at each cylinder in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The engine was equipped with two ignition systems that combined at a common distributor before terminating at the spark plugs. Although both ignition-coils provided voltage while the engine crankshaft was rotated, a corresponding spark was not produced at the individual spark plugs. An internal examination of the distributor assembly revealed that the electrode contact had separated from the distributor rotor.