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N13PE accident description

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Tail numberN13PE
Accident dateMay 20, 1995
Aircraft typePitcher W-8
LocationMineral, VA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 20, 1995, at 1257 eastern daylight time, a Pitcher, W-8, N13PE, a homebuilt, experimental airplane, was destroyed during a forced landing after takeoff from the Holly Grove Airport (80-VA), Mineral, Virginia. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the personal flight that originated at 80-VA. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector's report, he stated that witnesses observed the airplane takeoff and lose power during the initial climb. The airplane then turned left and nosed into the ground.

The report stated that the engine was removed from the wreckage, and washed prior to examination. The engine examination revealed compression on all cylinders. The top four spark plugs were of the same type and within wear limits. The lower four spark plugs were of three different types. Two were of the same kind with fine wire electrodes, and two were dissimilar with "massive electrodes." Both magnetos were tested and produced spark from each lead. The engine rotated without binding and valve train continuity was confirmed.

The report also stated that examination of the carburetor revealed the throttle butterfly and accelerator pump were "working properly." The airplane was not equipped with a cockpit mixture control, and the mixture on the carburetor was safety wired in the full rich position. The carburetor bowl was absent of fuel.

The engine was not equipped with a mechanical fuel pump; however, an electric fuel pump was mounted on the airplane firewall. Examination of the pump revealed it contained fuel and the finger screen was absent of debris. The pump was tested and "found to be operating properly."

The report further stated:

...We next addressed the power supply to the fuel pump. The cockpit had four switches and four fuses. The only one labeled was the master switch. The adjacent fuse was determined to be the master, and was found to be blown. It had a 20 amp rating. Using an ohmmeter, we determined which switch and fuse operated the fuel pump. This fuse was not blown, but the switch was found in the [off] position...

The airplane was a Wittmen W-8, built by Lee Pitcher, in 1965. The pilot purchased the airplane during March 1995, and ferried it from Michigan to Virginia. The airplane records were not located.

A review of the pilot's log book revealed that he had approximately 3 hours of total flight experience in this make and model airplane.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.