On the morning of the accident, the pilot terminated his first flight early due to a fuel leak in the fuel tank sight gauge on the Sonerai II LT. He made a repair before taking off for a second flight.
During the second flight, witnesses reported seeing the airplane in distress and hearing the engine sputtering as it approached an open field near Highlands Ranch, Colo.
The airplane overflew a set of power lines before rolling and hitting terrain, consistent with the pilot reducing the airspeed in an attempt to clear the power lines during a forced landing and subsequently stalling the airplane.
The majority of the airplane fuselage and cockpit were consumed by a post-impact fire. The pilot died in the crash.
Flight control continuity was verified from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.
Examination of the fuel system and engine was limited due to the fire damage, and a reason for the apparent loss of engine power could not be determined.
The pilot hadn’t flown in 10 years and had recently purchased the airplane. He logged one flight with an instructor about two months before the accident, and he had not logged experience in the airplane type before the day of the accident.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s loss of control during a forced landing following a loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined due to post-impact fire damage.
NTSB Identification: CEN14FA173
This March 2014 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.