Engine “Let Out A Muffled, Sucking Backfire” And Experienced A Total Loss Of Power

Location: Milton, FL Accident Number: ERA23LA124
Date & Time: February 6, 2023, 14:32 Local Registration: N330PC
Aircraft: Canton Paul A RV-6 Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On February 6, 2023, about 1432 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built RV-6, N330PC, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Milton, Florida. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he was picking up the airplane following completion of its annual condition inspection. He reported doing a through preflight inspection that included sampling the fuel, with no contaminants noted, checking the oil, which was full to 8 quarts, and checking the tires and brakes, which were new. Nothing abnormal was observed during the preflight, engine start, or run-up and taxi. Shortly after takeoff, during the initial climb about 300 to 400 feet mean sea level, the engine “let out a muffled, sucking backfire” and experienced a total loss of power. The pilot then pushed the nose over abruptly to maintain airspeed, made a mayday radio call, and reported the loss of engine power over the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency. During descent, the engine regained power shortly before impacting the ground.

The airplane impacted the ground and a fuel truck before it came to rest. There was no postimpact fire. A Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector conducted an examination that confirmed that the airframe and wings were substantially damaged. The right wing was mostly intact, and the left wing was crushed from impact with the ground and fuel truck. The right fuel tank remained intact and contained about 9 gallons of fluid consistent in color an odor with 100LL aviation fuel. The left fuel tank was breached but contained residual fuel. The fuel selector was found in the right position. 

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov