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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133761
Last updated: 6 February 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic VEZE model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Rutan VariEze
Registration: N728RJ
C/n / msn: 2199
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Middlebury, CT -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:OXC
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
On April 29, 1998, about 0952 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Varieze, N728RJ, was destroyed when it collided with terrain during a forced landing near Middlebury, Connecticut. The certificated private pilot/owner received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that he departed from Waterbury Airport, Oxford, Connecticut, about 0910. He stated that while doing air work at 8,000 feet, near Mountain Meadow Airport (22B), the engine "suddenly quit." He was unable to find 22B, and attempted to glide to Waterbury Airport. The pilot stated that he could see runway 18, and announced on the Unicom frequency that he was making an engine-out approach. When he realized that he was not going to reach the runway, he then chose a wooded area.

The wreckage was located April 30, 1998, a 1/2 mile from the airport in a wooded area, inverted, with the pilot trapped inside.

According to fuel receipts, 11 gallons of fuel was purchased on March 27, 1998, and the pilot reported that this filled the fuel tanks to their capacity of 24 gallons. The pilot stated that he had flown the airplane for 1 1/2 hours after the refueling. The pilot said that during his preflight inspection, he visually checked the fuel tanks, thought he had 16 gallons of fuel onboard, and that the Hobbs meter read 212.25 hours. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector recorded the Hobbs meter in the wreckage at 214.7 hours.

In a written statement, the pilot said that he had altered his preflight routine on the day of the accident by putting an additive into the fuel. He stated that he "may not have tightened the right gas cap."

The FAA Inspector examined the wreckage on May 1, 1998. His examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane's three fuel tanks had maintained their integrity, with no indication of fuel leakage. The right fuel cap was found off, hanging by its chain with no fuel in the tank and no indication of soil contamination beneath the tank. A "trace" of fuel was found in the left tank and the center tank was empty. The Inspector stated that the airplane contained fuel sight gauges and no fuel was shown on either gauge. All fuel lines to the engine were found intact with no loose connections. No fuel was found in the fuel lines or carburetor, with about a half ounce of fuel found in the fuel filter. There was no fuel smell on the ground surrounding the airplane.

The pilot bought the homebuilt airplane in June 1997, and had accumulated 30 hours of flight experience.
PROBABLE CAUSE:the pilot's inadequate preflight when he did not secure the right wing fuel tank cap which led to fuel exhaustion.


NTSB id 20001211X09882

Revision history:

21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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