Clogged fuel lines for RV

Aircraft: RV6. Injuries: None. Location: Hartford, Ky. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had logged 2,643 hours, including 360 in the RV, which he built. He filled the auxiliary fuel tanks just prior to departing on the accident flight.

It was the first time in eight or nine months that he used the auxiliary tanks. The airplane was in cruise flight at 7,000 feet MSL when he moved the fuel selector from the left main tank to the right auxiliary tank. The engine ran for a short time, then lost power.

The pilot’s efforts to restart the engine were unsuccessful, so he elected to shut off the fuel and perform a forced landing to a road. During the landing, the airplane hit a guardrail.

The post-accident examination revealed that several fuel system components and screens were partially or fully blocked with particles that resembled rust and material with the appearance, odor, and consistency of varnish.

The pilot explained that the varnish material from the right auxiliary tank had completely occluded the fuel line, filter, and blocked all fuel supply to the engine, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.

Probable cause: A loss of engine power due to fuel contamination as a result of the pilot’s inadequate maintenance of the airplane’s fuel system, which resulted in blockage of the fuel lines and filters.

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA418

This July 2011 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.


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