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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 38485
Last updated: 12 June 2019
This record is based on the official accident investigation report. It has been locked for editing.

Date:10-JUL-1999
Time:15:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic RV8 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Van's RV-8
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: N41VA
C/n / msn: 80544
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Lafayette, OR -   United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Scapoose, OR (1S4)
Destination airport:Independence, OR (7S5)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
While en route during an unknown phase of operation, the O-360-A1A engine, which had been overhauled by a facility in Canada and converted with 'high compression' pistons/cylinders, developed a partial power loss after about 35 hours of total operation. Metallurgical examination revealed that the #2 connecting rod fractured in two places due to fatigue at the rod end resulting in release of the rod from the crankshaft. No evidence of engine disassembly or maintenance by the owner/builder was found. Post-crash examination revealed holes in the upper engine case and disintegration of the #1 piston. A witness reported observing the aircraft at low altitude over gently rolling terrain trailing black smoke during which the pilot was observed to exit the aircraft. The aircraft rolled into a descending right turn and impacted the terrain 600 feet from the pilot's ground impact, and a post-crash explosion and fired ensued. Reconstruction of portions of the aircraft revealed sooting and evidence of pre-impact fire forward of the firewall in the vicinity of the gascolator as well as pre-impact heat damage to the Plexiglas windscreen and canopy. The only evidence of heat/fire distress observed during post-mortem was the pilot's eyebrows and forward hairline. The aircraft's canopy is airfoil shaped and during flight conditions would tend to create an aerodynamic low pressure condition near the top of the canopy. If the canopy were opened in flight with fire conditions existing along its forward exterior surface, the entrainment of hot air and fire within the upper cockpit interior environment may have become intolerable for the pilot.

Probable Cause: Fatigue of the number two connecting rod end resulting in a fracture at the rod end and release from the crankshaft, an ensuing in-flight fuel fed fire, followed by the pilot's abandoning the aircraft in flight. A contributing factor was pressure on the pilot induced by the conditions/events (in-flight fire entering the upper cockpit).

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20001212X19358&key=1


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
07-Nov-2016 07:06 junior sjc Updated [Operator, Nature, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
14-Dec-2017 08:42 ASN Update Bot Updated [Nature, Source, Narrative]