Newport pilot Doug Nebert has been blamed for the crash of his RV-10 private aircraft at the GP Mill in Toledo last May, a crash that took his life and the life of his 4 year old granddaughter, as well as causing serious injuries to his daughter.
The following is the complete report from the National Transportation Safety Board that did extensive interviews with witnesses and co-workers and associates at the Newport Airport.
Doug Nebert, who was also the builder of the experimental kit airplane, departed for a cross-country flight from his home airport. Nebert’s daughter reported that, following a normal departure, the airplane continued the takeoff climb through some cloud wisps and ascended above a lower cloud cover with an overcast layer above. She said suddenly, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot maneuvered the airplane toward the closest airport, but, when he realized that the airplane would not be able to glide to the airport, he tried to make an off-airport landing. The airplane stalled and then plunged toward the ground in an open area of the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill. Ground scar analysis and wreckage fragmentation revealed that the airplane descended in a steep, near-vertical, nose-down, left-wing-down attitude before it hit the ground.
Nebert had installed a fuel flow transducer about 2 to 3 weeks before the accident and used heavy applications of room temperature vulcanization (RTV) silicone to seal the fuel lines. A friend of the pilot, who was also a mechanic, reported that he had observed the pilot about a year earlier using heavy applications of RTV silicone to seal parts during a condition inspection and that he had mentioned to the pilot that this was an improper practice. A bead of RTV silicone was found in the fuel line, and it is likely that it blocked the inlet of the transducer and starved the engine of fuel. Additionally, after to the loss of engine power, the pilot failed to maintain sufficient airspeed while maneuvering to locate a suitable off-airport landing site and flew the airplane beyond its ability to stay airborne, which resulted in a stall and loss of airplane control.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation because of a blocked fuel line that resulted from the pilot’s improper maintenance practices and the pilot’s subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed while attempting a forced landing, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.