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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA14LA018
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 16, 2013 in Palatine, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2014
Aircraft: FULLER VAN L SONEX, registration: N68VF
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot stated that the noncertificated engine in his experimental, amateur-built airplane had been indicating low or no oil pressure. He returned the engine to the manufacturer and received an overhauled engine, which he operated for about 30 hours uneventfully. On the day before the accident, the pilot performed a routine 25-hour oil change and valve adjustment and noted no anomalies. On the day of the accident, the pilot departed a grass airstrip for a local flight with 8 gallons of fuel. He overflew the airstrip once and then performed an approach with the intention to land; however, the airplane was too high, so the pilot performed a go-around. During the go-around, the pilot heard two “pops,” and the engine lost total power. The propeller did not windmill and came to a complete stop. The airplane was at a low altitude, and the pilot chose to land in a cornfield rather than try to turn back to the runway. During the landing, the right main landing gear lodged in mud, and the airplane nosed over. During a test run, the pilot was able to rotate the propeller and get compression on all four cylinders. He then started the engine, and it ran without hesitation. After shutdown, the pilot removed all of the cylinders and did not observe any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. The weather conditions were conducive to the accumulation of serious carburetor icing at cruise power. However, the engine was equipped with a flatslide aerobatic carburetor, which was not susceptible to carburetor ice due to the location that it was mounted to the engine. The reason for the engine power loss could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because a test run and partial teardown of the engine did not reveal any anomalies.