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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 142292
Last updated: 27 September 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PIVI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Pipistrel Virus 912
Registration: N325MZ
C/n / msn: 251VSW9121207
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Near 27 Mile and Ray Center Roads, Ray Township, MI -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Ray, MI (57D)
Destination airport:Ray, MI (57D)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A witness reported that the motorglider engine did not sound normal during the preflight run-up and takeoff. The engine subsequently lost power when the aircraft was about 200 feet above ground level. The motorglider took off to the west and entered a gradual left turn. It impacted a golf course less than a mile from the airport. The duration of the accident flight was about 2 minutes. A postaccident examination revealed an accumulation of debris on the inlet side of the fuel pump screen; however, the debris did not appear to obstruct the screen significantly. The appearance of the debris was similar to the fiberglass material used in the construction of the airframe. The fuel tanks had been repaired shortly before the accident due to damage related to the use of alcohol-containing fuel (ethanol). The engine fuel line did not contain any fuel and the carburetors contained only a minimal amount of fuel.

Although the finding of minimal fuel at the engine was consistent with fuel starvation, a definitive reason for a starvation event could not be determined. According to a carburetor icing probability chart, an airplane operating in the ambient conditions at the time of the accident could expect a serious risk of carburetor icing while at cruise and glide power. Engine operations at low power during ground operations are similar to that of operations at glide power, making the carburetor susceptible to icing prior to takeoff; however, a conclusive determination related to the presence of carburetor icing was not possible. A prescription medication commonly used for the management of anxiety disorders and for insomnia was detected at subtherapeutic levels. However, any impairment of the pilot at the time of the accident could not be determined.
Probable Cause: A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation for reasons that could not be determined because the postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.



Revision history:

04-Feb-2012 12:00 Alpine Flight Added
04-Feb-2012 13:51 Alpine Flight Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Source, Damage, Narrative]
04-Feb-2012 14:27 Alpine Flight Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Narrative]
06-Feb-2012 08:40 RobertMB Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Feb-2012 09:10 RobertMB Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Feb-2012 13:56 Geno Updated [Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
27-Nov-2017 20:18 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Plane category]

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