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Re: REFLECTOR: Copy of: N19DW Accident, Probable Cause



Donald,

> Looks like aircraft will be declared a total loss by the insurance company.

I'm really sorry to hear of your loss, but glad you came through it relatively
unscathed. 

> We, Duane, myself and the NTSB, have developed a STRONG PROBABLE CAUSE for
> the accident.

Your theory sounds extremely plausible. When I pressure-tested my fuel tanks,
the biggest leak was around and THROUGH the fuel caps. Around the "O" rings
and through the center hole by the shaft. After considerable manipulation and
lubrication, I was able to stop the leaks. But I have little confidence the
caps will remain leak-free in service without frequent maintenance. 

> MOST IMPORTANT, monitor fuel tank levels during flight , and if an
> unusual imbalance is seen,  ASSUME FUEL IN FULLEST TANK IS UNUSEABLE until
> system is checked.

This is priceless knowledge!! If your theory is correct, it would explain the
uneven fuel flow observed by several other builders, as well as the
potentially serious nature of this condition. In light of your observations,
if uneven flow were noted, I'd want to immediately check the caps for leaks. 

One question: Did N19DW have a vent line CONNECTING the two main tanks? I have
long believed that such a connecting line should prevent or greatly reduce
fuel imbalance caused by an air pressure differential between the tanks.
Unfortunately, my plane is not yet flying, so I have not been able to test
this. 

Best,
Dave Black
SW TopDoor RG