Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RV accident reports

I used to do this feature back when I was publishing the RV Builder's Hotline. You can learn a lot about safety by reading accident reports, which is why it's too bad that the most popular RV site doesn't allow any mention of accidents. They happen.


Gerrardstown, WV
-- On April 16, 2012, about 1520 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Van's Aircraft RV-7A, N5025G, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to an agricultural field in Gerrardstown, West Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for the local flight, which originated at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport/Shepherd Field (MRB), Martinsburg, West Virginia. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, shortly after departing MRB, the Mazda 13B rotary engine's coolant temperature began to rise. As the pilot turned the airplane back toward the airport, the engine seized, and would not turn over during an attempted restart. The pilot advised MRB control tower personnel that he would have to land in a field, which included recently-planted apple trees. The pilot was able to land on a flat portion of the field; however, during the landing rollout, the airplane encountered a ditch that caught the nose wheel, and the airplane nosed over.
(NTSB file)


Fort Drum, Florida -- This week the NTSB reported on an RV-4 that lost all power 30 feet above the ground last July in Fort Drum. It could not conclude if it was fuel starvation because the pilot said he removed all fuel to facilitate recovery of the plane. (NTSB file)

Quinton, VA.
- An RV-7A nose gear collapsed on landing and flipped. Probable cause: Fuel starvation. (NTSB file)


  1. The formatting here is confusing me: the PROBABLE CAUSE headline is for...?? And why would fuel starvation cause a nose gear to collapse on landing? I can guess that fuel starvation caused a forced landing onto something less than a paved field, is that what happened?

    Oh ok I'll look up the original reports...

  2. Probable cause is when the NTSB is done with the incident. "New incidents" are "factual reports" which are usually filed in the immediate aftermath of the incident and doesn't include a conclusion on cause.

    In the end, the probable cause is almost always pilot error. Everything else is just a "contributing factor"