The noncertificated pilot was departing in the experimental light sport airplane when the engine lost power. He attempted to return to the runway, but the Quicksilver hit trees and a fence west of the departure end of the runway at the airport in Cleburne, Texas. The pilot died in the crash.
Examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel line between the fuel tank and engine was brittle and cracked and had broken. Both carburetor bowls were dry.
Additionally, putty was found at the fuel tank outlet connector, consistent with a repair to prevent or fix a fuel leak, and the engine air filter was dirty.
Although no maintenance records were located, the condition of the engine and its components suggested that it was not being properly maintained.
It is likely that the engine experienced a total loss of power due to fuel starvation as a result of the broken fuel line. The loss of engine power prevented the pilot from reaching a suitable landing area.
Probable cause: An engine loss of power due to fuel starvation from a broken fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine, which prevented the pilot from reaching a suitable landing area. Contributing to the accident was the inadequate maintenance of the engine and its components.
NTSB Identification: CEN17LA368
This September 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.