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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA13LA405
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 06, 2013 in Waxhaw, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/14/2014
Aircraft: CROWDER MICHAEL H SONEX, registration: N293SX
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

About 15 to 20 minutes after establishing the airplane in cruise flight, the pilot, who was also the owner/builder of the experimental amateur-built airplane, noticed that the engine rpm had dropped from the previously established 2,600 to 1,800. The engine continued to operate at this reduced power setting for about 30 to 60 seconds before it completely stopped producing power. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing into trees, which resulted in substantial damage to the airframe. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the cable providing power to the crankshaft position sensor was routed next to the exhaust system and that it had melted. Subsequently, one of the wires electrically shorted to the engine block, which rendered the electronic fuel injection system inoperative. Replacement of the damaged cable restored the fuel injection system to normal function.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot/owner/builder’s improper routing of the engine’s crankshaft position sensor cable next to the engine’s exhaust system, which resulted in a total loss of engine power in flight.