The pilot, who was also the builder of the Van’s RV-10, departed for a cross-country flight from his home airport. The passenger reported that, following a normal departure, the airplane continued the takeoff climb through some cloud wisps and ascended above a lower cloud cover with an overcast layer above.
Suddenly, the engine experienced a total loss of power.
The pilot maneuvered the airplane toward the closest airport, but, when he realized it would not be able to glide to the airport, he attempted to make an off-airport landing.
The airplane stalled and then collided with terrain in an open area of a paper mill in Toledo Ore.
Ground scar analysis and wreckage fragmentation revealed that the airplane descended in a steep, near-vertical, nose-down, left-wing-down attitude before it hit terrain.
Two people were killed in the accident, while a third was seriously injured.
The pilot installed a fuel flow transducer about two to three weeks before the accident and used heavy applications of room temperature vulcanization (RTV) silicone to seal the fuel lines.
A friend of the pilot, who was also a mechanic, reported that he had observed the pilot about a year earlier using heavy applications of RTV silicone to seal parts during a condition inspection and that he had mentioned to the pilot that this was an improper practice.
A bead of RTV silicone was found in the fuel line, and it is likely that it blocked the inlet of the transducer and starved the engine of fuel.
Additionally, subsequent to the loss of engine power, the pilot failed to maintain sufficient airspeed while maneuvering to locate a suitable off-airport landing site and flew the airplane beyond its critical angle-of-attack, which resulted in a stall and loss of airplane control.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation because of a blocked fuel line that resulted from the pilot’s improper maintenance practices and the pilot’s subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed while attempting a forced landing, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: WPR14FA218
This May 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.