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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 36321
Last updated: 3 October 2019
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Date:05-JAN-1989
Time:12:00
Type:Silhouette image of generic VEZE model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Rutan VariEze
Owner/operator:private
Registration: N66WR
C/n / msn: 328
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Macon, MO -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Peoria, IL (PIA)
Destination airport:Kansas City, MO (MKC)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
THE PLT HAD JUST PURCHASED THE ACFT & WAS FERRYING IT FROM ALLEGAN, MI, TO HIS HOME airport AT KANSAS CITY, MO. AN EN ROUTESTOP WAS MADE AT PEORIA, IL, WHERE HE REFUELED & CHECKED THE WX. AT PEORIA, FBO PSNL NOTED HE HAD FUEL ON THE SEAT OF HIS PANTS. HE SAID FUEL HAD GOTTEN ON HIS SEAT CUSHION FROM A LEAK AT THE TOP OF A FUEL SIGHT GAUGE (NEAR THE AFT SEAT).HE HAD THE ACFT REFUELED IN A LVL ATTITUDE (RATHER THAN THE USUAL NOSE LOW ATTITUDE) TO KEEP FUEL FROM LEAKING FROM THE GAUGE. BFR DEPG ON THE 2ND LEG OF THE FLT, THE PLT COMMENTED HE WOULD LIKE TO BEAT THE WX TO HIS HOME. DRG FLT, THE ACFTHIT A TREE, WHILE ON A NNW HDG NR MACON, MO, THEN CRASHED & BURNED. IT WAS FND ON 5/5/89. INV REVEALED THERE WAS A LOW CEILING IN THE AREA. APRX 24 MI NORTH AT KIRKSVILLE, MO, THE WX WAS IN PART: 500' OVC, 2 MI VIS WITH LIGHT RAIN & FOG. EXCEPT FOR THE RPRTD FUEL LEAK, NO EVIDENCE WAS FND OF A MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION OR FAILURE. BEFORE THE PLT LEFT ALLEGAN,HE HAD NO PREVIOUS FLT TIME IN THIS MAKE & MODEL OF ACFT & HAD NOT LOGGED ANY FLT TIME SINCE 8/10/88. CAUSE: CONTINUED FLIGHT BY THE PILOT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT ALTITUDE/CLEARANCE ABOVE OBSTACLES. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS WERE: LOW CEILING, FOG, RAIN, PILOT DELAYING FLIGHT TO AN ALTERNATE DESTINATION, HIS LACK OF RECENT FLIGHT EXPERIENCE, HIS LACK OF FAMILIARITY WITH THE TYPE OF AIRCRAFT, AND TREES.


Note:A request for assistance to search for this Aircraft was made in Canard Pusher by the Pilot's wife in January 1989, using the incorrect registration of N234EZ. This was after a three week search by CAP and other searchers.

"A Kansas City pilot traveled to the Grand Rapids area of Michigan where
he purchased a VariEze. With no check out or weather briefing, he took
off and headed for home. He landed at Peoria, Illinois for fuel. An
attempt was made to repair a small gas leak in one of his fuel sight
gauges before departing for Kansas City. The pilot then took off into
what eye witnesses have called "marginal VFR conditions" with heavy
rain, thunderstorms with tops to 41000 feet, turbulence and icing
conditions reported up to 6000 feet. His last known position was 20
miles southwest of the Peoria airport. The pilot did not arrive at his
destination, nor has anyone see or heard from him. His wife has been
working very hard with FAA and CAP and the CAP conducted an intense
search of the area for almost three weeks. Initially, the search was
conducted with no snow on the ground and with good visibility, but with
no sign of the VariEze."

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001213X27636

Canard Pusher No. 58, Jan. 1989


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
14-Oct-2012 06:06 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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