Lancair’s first flight ends fatally

This April 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Lancair Legacy RG.
Location: Fulton, N.Y.
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was also the builder of the airplane. The accident happened during the airplane’s first flight. The airplane was serviced with 30 gallons of 100LL avgas prior to the engine accumulating 1.2 hours of ground operation. During the initial engine ground run, a fuel leak was discovered originating from a loose fuel return line fitting in the left wing root area. The pilot repaired the fitting.

According to witnesses on the ground, shortly after departure, the engine noise began to oscillate, as if the engine was losing power. The airplane was unable to maintain altitude, and crashed in a wooded area.

The post-crash investigation determined that the mixture lever nut at the fuel pump was loose, and the lever could be moved beyond lean and rich limitations. During the test-run, the engine started on the first attempt, and ran without hesitation at different power settings, including idle to full power oscillations.

Probable cause: A loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff for undetermined reasons.

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