The Pilot Reported This Was The First Flight Of The Experimental Airplane

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA Accident Number: CEN23LA273
Date & Time: July 1, 2023, 08:53 Local Registration: N567JS
Aircraft: Berkut 540 Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Flight test

On July 1, 2023, about 0853 central daylight time, a Berkut 540 airplane, N567JS, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 test flight.

The pilot reported this was the first flight of the experimental airplane. After takeoff, the pilot proceeded east of the airport and was cleared to 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl). However, upon reaching 3,400 ft msl, the airplane entered a gradual descent, and the pilot subsequently realized that the engine had lost partial power. He decided to return to the airport. Fuel pressure, fuel flow, and manifold pressure were within normal range at that time. When the pilot activated the fuel boost pump as the airplane neared the airport, the engine lost power completely. Unable to reach the runway, he executed a forced landing to a road. The airplane touched down safely on a gravel road; unfortunately, as it neared an intersection, the airplane encountered a bump causing it to veer to the left. The left wing impacted a road sign, and the left canard impacted a tree.

The airplane came to rest upright in a residential driveway. The left and right wings were separated during the impact sequence. The left canard was damaged, and the right landing gear collapsed.

Engine and airframe fuel systems examinations are planned following recovery of the airplane from the accident site.