Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR21LA294

Indian Springs, NV, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot was making a cross-country flight in the airplane. While still in the initial climb, shortly after he had switched on the electric fuel boost pump at 10,000 ft mean sea level as recommended, the engine began to sputter, and he saw smoke coming from the right side of the instrument panel. The engine stopped producing power, and the pilot turned towards a highway for an emergency landing. The airplane lost electrical power, and the pilot was unable to lower the landing gear. During the gear-up landing on the highway, the propeller struck the ground, which resulted in the airplane veering to the left off the pavement into the center dirt median strip. The pilot opened the canopy and saw fuel spilling out of the left wing. He exited the airplane, and a short time later, the airplane burst into flames. The airframe was destroyed by fire damage. Examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Factual Information

On July 28, 2021, about 0900 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Kuykendall Lancair IV, N26PD, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Indian Springs, Nevada. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot reported that the intent of the flight was to reposition the airplane from North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada, to Roberts Field (RDM), Redmond, Oregon. He had flown the airplane numerous times over the past several months, including a flight from Texas to VGT. There were no mechanical problems identified on any of the past flights. Before the accident flight, the pilot performed a preflight inspection and then started the engine. He taxied to the runup area where he conducted an engine run-up, cycled the propeller, and checked all instrumentation, which indicated good or normal indications. He then taxied to runway 12R and was cleared for takeoff with a climbing right turn to the northwest. His intent was to climb to 12,500 ft mean sea level (msl) for the flight to RDM. The pilot stated that he was in a 500 ft per minute climb, and all the engine parameters were normal. As the airplane reached 10,000 ft msl, he switched the electric fuel boost pump on as recommended, and everything continued to be normal. About 23 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Creech Air Force Base (INS), Indian Springs, Nevada, at 10,500 ft msl, the engine began to sputter. About 5 seconds later, the pilot observed smoke coming from the right side of the instrument panel. He checked the gauges and did not observe anything abnormal. The pilot leveled the airplane and felt it decelerate, which indicated that the engine had stopped producing power; at that point, the electrical readings from the instrument panel went blank. He made a turn toward a highway, established a descent at 80 knots, and then turned off the electrical switches except for the master switch. The pilot stated that he positioned the landing gear handle to the down position. However, he did not feel the landing gear lowering nor did he hear any audio tones; he then turned off the master switch. At this time, smoke was still coming from the right side of the instrument panel. As there was light traffic on a highway near his location, the pilot was able to make an approach and land on the highway. The airplane landed with the gear up and started to slide down the highway. The propeller subsequently struck the road, and the airplane veered to the left into a dirt center median. When the airplane came to a stop, the pilot opened the canopy and observed fuel spilling out of the left wing. He got out of the airplane and spoke to motorists who had stopped to check on him. The pilot stated that he was about to return to the airplane when it burst into flames. Review of photographs provided by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector indicated that the airframe was destroyed by fire. The airframe was not available for examination by National Transportation Safety Board investigators. An engine examination revealed no evidence of any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

An in-flight fire due to an undetermined electrical malfunction.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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