Accident Glasair GlaStar N8488,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 310310
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Date:Tuesday 11 April 2023
Type:Silhouette image of generic GLST model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Glasair GlaStar
Registration: N8488
MSN: 5434
Year of manufacture:2006
Total airframe hrs:446 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Kidwell Airport (1L4), Cal-Nev-Ari, NV -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Kidwell Airport, NV (1L4)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On April 11, 2023, about 0419 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Glastar airplane, N8488, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight

The purpose of the flight was for the pilot and his spouse to depart from their winter residence in Nevada and fly to their primary residence in Iowa. The first day of the trip had a presumed plan to terminate in Dalhart, Texas, where they would overnight and refuel. On the morning of the accident, the pilot’s friend filmed the departure on his cellular phone and was in radio contact over the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). A review of that video revealed that the airplane departed runway 33 about 0406 and after the initial climb, made a left turn (to the west). The airplane’s lights remained visible in the video and the airplane could be seen to make a right turn and continue to the east in a level attitude until disappearing out of the frame. Shortly after turning to the right, the pilot made a goodbye call to his friend.

A security camera, located at a private residence at the south side of the airport, recorded grainy footage of the airplane departing and then leaving the frame to the east about one minute later. The airplane then came back into the frame from the east at 0419, equating to about 11 minutes after leaving. The lights appeared higher than when the airplane originally left the frame. The airplane then turned (direction unknown) at 0419:17 and rapidly descended to the ground, presumably crashing at 0419:28.

The main wreckage was located in the desert terrain about 3,940 ft north-northwest from the end of runway 33 at an elevation of 2,660 ft. In character, the terrain was composed of dry, soft dirt and dense brush. The wreckage was found distributed over a 920 ft distance on a median magnetic bearing of about 050°.

The first identified points of contact consisted of disrupted cacti and dirt on the flat desert terrain making up the far southwestern end of the debris field. The parallel disruptions in the terrain were consistent in size and spacing with the right wheel impacting first, followed by the left wheel. Those markings continued down the debris field and located between them were slashes in the dirt perpendicular to the direction of travel, consistent with propeller slashes; fragments of propeller blades were found in that area imbedded in the soft dirt.

The second identified debris field consisted of disrupted dirt and vegetation making up northeast end of the debris field. The markings started as a 5 in wide indentation in the vegetation dirt with a blue/green lens and almost the entirety of the right-wing tip fragments imbedded. There was a crater about 35 feet from the right-wing tip followed by the main wreckage, which was upright facing the opposite direction of the debris field.

The experimental Glastar was equipped with a Eggenfellner Subaru H4 engine based on an EL-25, 2.5L Subaru water-cooled 4-cylinder engine that was rated at 160 horsepower. Power is transferred from the engine to the propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) through a spline shaft. The unit was an Eggenfellner GEN 3, Ver 4 model. The PSRU is a geared reduction drive that provides for a propeller rpm that is about ½ that of the engine rpm.

As part of the postaccident examination, a majority of the engine, the PSRU, and the components were completely disassembled. In pertinent part, there were large plastic shards found in the No. 4 intake and smaller pieces were in the No. 3 intake. The entire drive train was intact. The deposits on the pistons and spark plugs were all consistent with normal operation. The PSRU splines and bearings were all intact; fine metallic shavings were found in the oil. The examination of the engine and PSRU revealed no obvious evidence of preimpact anomalies or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The fuel system consisted of two wing tanks that were plumbed to header tanks (located on the upper left and right vertical cage structures). From the header tanks, the fuel lines were routed down to a sump and then were routed to an Andair “RIGHT” “LEFT” and “OFF” selector valve. The fuel line continued forward from the valve to the firewall. At the firewall there was a braided fuel line to a fuel filter (mounted on the firewall). The fuel then continued through two different parallel electric fuel pumps and then joined into one line and continued to a paper fuel filter. The fuel was routed to an engine rail and injectors. All 4 fuel injectors were affixed into its respective cylinder. The fuel return was routed after the engine rails to a fuel pressure sensor. From the sensor, the fuel was routed back to the fuel selector and returned to the tank selected.

There was fluid in both wing tanks consistent in odor and color with that of 100LL Avgas. The fuel selector was in an over-extended position and sustained crush damage with the selector post bent. There was white Teflon tape on all the selector fittings that had the appearance of being recently installed. The fuel lines were all fractured in various places consistent with impact deformation. The fuel line from the selector through the firewall was broken and the b-nut was loose; there were marks on the nut. The fuel filter was punctured open; the fluid inside was grainy and dirty and tested positive for containing water. The cooling reservoir was located above the filter and was punctured. Power was applied to the fuel pumps and investigators could feel them clicking and there was suction on the inlets. The paper filter was cut open and found to be discolored.

The last 100-hr inspection was recorded as being completed on April 05, 2023, equating to 6 days prior to the accident. The mechanic that signed the entry stated that he wasn’t familiar with the engine and the pilot performed all the maintenance on the airplane. He was doing the inspection to look for leaks, and overall condition of the airplane. A review of the maintenance records revealed that in March the pilot installed new fuel injectors and changed the manifold, temperature and oxygen sensors. The tachometer at the accident site was not recovered, but the last inspection indicated the airplane had a total time of 446.6 hours.

The complete control continuity could not be established due to the fragmentation of the airframe from impact. There was no evidence of disconnect or failure. The flaps were in the full extended position visually on the cockpit Johnson bar and visually on the control surface.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR23FA153
Status: Preliminary report
Download report: Preliminary report





Revision history:

11-Apr-2023 21:28 Captain Adam Added
16-May-2023 19:42 Captain Adam Updated

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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