ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 40421
Last updated: 5 February 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:18-DEC-1998
Time:08:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic VEZE model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Rutan VariEze
Owner/operator:private
Registration: N81EZ
C/n / msn: 00001
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Tucson, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:(RYN)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
This was the maiden flight in the aircraft, and during construction, the pilot made numerous design modifications to the airplane which had changed the flight and performance characteristics. Instead of the airplane's engines recommended by the designer, the pilot had installed a GM Geo Metro automobile engine, which the pilot altered by the addition of a Mitsubishi turbocharger. The pilot also altered the fuel computer chip to adjust the fuel flow, attempting to achieve a 2-gallon-per-hour consumption rate. The pilot told associates that the engine produced 78 hp at 4,800 rpm. Engine technical data showed the actual power output of the unmodified engine to be 79 hp at 6,000 rpm. Severe detonation was found in the engine during postaccident examination and it is believed that it most likely would produce only 55 percent of rated power. Following takeoff, witnesses saw the aircraft in a nose high attitude and it never achieved more than 100 feet agl. Some witnesses said the nose attitude was as high as 15 to 20 degrees just before the crash. The pilot radioed that he was having a problem and said he had to put the aircraft down. The airplane collided with a tree during the attempted forced landing and a postcrash fire consumed the wreckage. CAUSE: The pilot's failure to attain and maintain an adequate flying airspeed during the aircraft's maiden flight, which resulted in a stall/mush condition. Also causal was the pilot/builder's decision to modify the engine and the fuel system control microchip, which resulted in detonation and a severe reduction in power output, and led directly to the pilot's inability to attain and maintain airspeed.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001211X11574


Revision history:

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

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description