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Maintenance Alert for Experimental Amateur Built Aircraft

Reprinted with permission from the FAA Aviation News

The pilot of a single engine experimental amateur built aircraft was at 2,400 feet MSL when he experienced a partial engine failure. Shortly thereafter, the engine became erratic then failed completely. The pilot landed in a soybean field. Investigation disclosed two drilled out rivet heads lodged in the fuel line that had apparently caused fuel starvation and engine stoppage. The aircraft had been in service for approximately three years. Although the source of the rivet heads is unknown, they may have inadvertently fallen into the open fuel tank filler during construction or maintenance activity. The investigator recommends that experimental aircraft builders consider installing a finger screen at the outlet of the fuel tank. The screen would catch and retain debris before it entered the fuel line. Periodic inspection and cleaning of the finger screen may eliminate debris from the tank preventing it from clogging the fuel line.