The student pilot reported that, during cruise flight in the experimental light-sport airplane, a Rans S5, he encountered moderate turbulence. The engine then experienced a total loss of power.
Following an uneventful landing in an open field near Lodi, California, he found that a fuel line was pinched between his seat and the fuselage.
After repositioning the fuel line, he was able to start the engine and took off to return to the airport.
While in the airport traffic pattern, his seat shifted, and the engine lost power a second time.
He initiated a forced landing to a nearby road, however just before touchdown, he “banked hard left” to avoid hitting a vehicle on the road. The airplane subsequently experienced an aerodynamic stall and hit the ground.
Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel line located behind the pilot’s seat could be compressed by hand. Movement of the seat allowed for the fuel line to be pinched, resulting in an interruption of fuel flow to the engine.
After installing a new propeller, a test run of the engine was completed with no anomalies observed.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as the result of a pinched fuel line. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s maneuvering just before landing, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: WPR16LA122
This May 2016 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.