The private pilot in the light-sport, experimental airplane reported that the flight was conducted with the intent of burning off fuel because he planned to pick up a passenger.
When he entered the downwind traffic pattern, the Zodiac CH601SLB’s engine stopped.
“My mistake had been to not switch fuel tanks before the one I was on was sucked dry,” the pilot told investigators.
He switched the fuel selector to a full tank and attempted to restart the engine as he maneuvered to reach the runway. The airplane’s airspeed was slow, and the plane stalled. The airplane landed hard on the left side of the runway centerline and remained on the runway at the airport in Louisa, Virginia, when it came to rest.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and the fuselage aft of the firewall.
Probable cause: The pilot’s in-flight fuel mismanagement and subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed while attempting to land on the runway, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and a hard landing.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA208
This March 2017 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.