One Hour After The Departure, The Pilot Experienced A Loss Of Engine Power

Location: Kelso Valley, CA Accident Number: WPR20LA259
Date & Time: August 9, 2020, 08:00 Local Registration: N2ZE
Aircraft: Rutan VARI EZE Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On August 9, 2020, at 0800 Pacific daylight time, a Page/Le Master, Vari-eze experimental airplane, N2ZE, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Kelso Valley, California. The pilot sustained serious injury and the passenger sustained minor injury. The airplane was operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot stated he departed California City Municipal Airport (L71),California City, California, with 16 gallons of fuel on board. About one hour after the departure, the pilot experienced a loss of engine power. He switched the fuel selector from the wings to the center tank and the engine regained power for 30 seconds before it lost power. The pilot manipulated the fuel selector from center tank to wing tanks and back to center tank only to experience an additional 20 seconds of regained engine power.

After three failed attempts to restart the engine, the pilot decided to execute an emergency landing. The wreckage was retained for further examination.