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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 35780
Last updated: 10 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: N77AX
C/n / msn: 1861
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Globe, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Mesa, AZ (FFZ)
Destination airport:, AZ (P13)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Witnesses on the ground reported hearing the engine of a low-flying aircraft start and stop several times before the aircraft struck utility lines. The engine then surged, but the aircraft continued to the ground. A wet stain was on the ground near the right wing tank. About 2 gallons of fuel were in the left wing tank and about 1 or 2 cups of fuel in the fuselage header tank. The POH states that starvation can occur during long steep descents with 2 gallons per wing tank, and advises the pilot to select the fuselage tank in order to avoid fuel starvation. The fuel selector was found partially displaced from the auxiliary (fuselage tank position). The fuselage tank is separate from the main fuel system and must be filled independently. The carburetor throttle and mixture control arms were in the full open and full rich positions. No fuel was found in the carburetor bowl. No engine driven fuel pump or electric fuel boost pump was installed. The aircraft designer specifies that the aircraft be equipped with both an engine driven fuel pump and an electric auxiliary fuel boost pump because of the limited headspace between the tanks and the engine. CAUSE: fuel starvation due to the pilot's failure to properly plan his flight with regard to his estimated flight time, planned descent(s), and the amount of usable fuel available and required in the fuselage tank. The pilot/builder's deviation from the aircraft plans, in that his aircraft did not employ a fuel boost pump and an engine driven fuel pump, as specified by the designer, was a factor in this accident.

The NTSB report is rather incorrect. They have confused the LongEz with the Varieze. The LongEz requires an engine driven pump - but not a boost pump - the Varieze does not specify any pump, nor does the designer recommend any fuel pump to be fitted. The Varieze does not have the limited head space issue of the LongEz design.



Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
08-Aug-2014 10:20 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:22 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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