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NTSB Releases Final Report on July 2021 RV7 Accident

Pilot Survives, Airplane Dies Young

The NTSB has released its final report on a 04 July 2021 accident in which an experimental, amateur-built, Rans RV7 (File photo, below) two-seat, single-engine, low-wing airplane, registration N654C, was destroyed after its engine lost power shortly after the aircraft departed Pottstown, Pennsylvania’s Heritage Field Airport (PTW).

The accident flight, which departed PTW at approximately 12:52 EDT, was conducted in day VFR/VMC conditions under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

The 62-year-old male Private Pilot, who owned and had built the RV7, performed a preflight inspection of the aircraft and a runup of its two-hundred-horsepower, Subaru EZ3.0 engine. Collectively, the checks evinced normal aircraft and engine function.

While climbing out of PTW, at an altitude of 800-feet MSL (approximately 500-feet AGL), the RV7’s engine lost power, compelling the pilot to attempt an emergency return to the departure airport.

The aircraft impacted terrain short of the runway threshold, however, and a post-impact fire ensued.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the accident site, only the outer portions of the RV7’s wings and a portion of its empennage went undamaged by the blaze. The accident aircraft’s engine and cockpit sustained extensive fire damage. Ergo the entireties of the plane’s electric ignition system, wiring-harness, and fuel pumps were fractured and melted.

The automotive gasoline with which the pilot had fueled the accident aircraft had been stored in a bucket within the pilot’s hangar. The fuel in subject bucket was found to be free of both water and visible contaminates.

The NTSB determined the accident’s probable cause to be a total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined based on available information. The number of tax dollars spent to arrive at this incisive and useful conclusion remains similarly vague.

The pilot set forth that the RV7, at the time of its destruction, had accumulated only 3.4 total hours. The aircraft’s logbooks were in the airplane at the time of the accident and destroyed therein.

The non-instrument rated Private Pilot had, himself, accumulated only 180 total hours of flight time—of which three were in the RV7. In the thirty days preceding the accident, the pilot had logged five hours.

The pilot held a Class III FAA medical certificate with limitations, and had successfully completed a flight-review on 30 August 2019.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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