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N234VV accident description

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Crash location 40.518056°N, 74.604722°W
Nearest city Manville, NJ
40.540937°N, 74.587657°W
1.8 miles away
Tail number N234VV
Accident date 16 Jul 2014
Aircraft type Holmlund Victor P Auriga
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 16, 2014, about 1010 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Auriga, N234VV, was substantially damaged when it experienced and a total loss of engine power and impacted terrain while on approach to Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N), Manville, New Jersey. The private pilot was seriously injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to police reports, an eyewitness heard the airplane's engine "sputtering badly" and then an impact with nearby trees. Through a family representative, the pilot reported that the airplane was above the glidepath, while on final approach, and he attempted a 360 degree turn when the engine quit. The pilot subsequently informed local police authorities that "…maybe he did not see one of the warning lights come on for fuel during his landing and may have been too low on fuel." The pilot further reported that on the day of the accident he had repaired an oil leak on a valve cover and decided to perform a test flight in the area. The pilot "estimated" he had about 45 minutes of fuel on board at the time of departure and that the flight was approximately 18 minutes in length.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The airplane came to rest inverted, on the top of a berm, about one-quarter of a mile from the approach end of runway 7. One wing was impact separated and located in the adjacent trees. The empennage was impact separated but was co-located with the wreckage. The inspector further reported that first responders reported "not much fuel spill or smell."

The airplane was based at 47N. According to the airport owner, 47N did not have any fuel to sell for several days prior to the accident. On the morning of the accident the airport received a shipment of fuel; however, the pilot did not purchase any fuel and no records were located revealing when the airplane had been last refueled.

An article written for Experimental Aircraft Association Experimenter magazine, in 2013 provided information on the fuel system for the accident airplane. The article described the system as having four fuel tanks that could contain up to 94 gallons of fuel total. According to the article, in cruise flight the airplane would consume about 13 gallons per hour.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s improper preflight fuel planning and in-flight fuel monitoring, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

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