At approximately 15:20 PDT, an experimental Vans RV-8 built by the pilot suffered an in-flight fire and crashed after an uncontrolled descent 1 mile north of Lafayette. The pilot was killed. Witnesses saw the plane in a shallow descent approximately 200-300 feet above the ground trailing black smoke. The pilot jumped out and was found several hundred yards from the wreckage. Examination of the wreckage confirmed a pre-impact fire in the lower-left aft area of the engine compartment. Additionally, disassembly of the engine revealed extensive particulate material within the engines sump, oil finger screen and oil filter. The number one piston was absent, as was much of the number two connecting rod (crankshaft end) rod cap sections and retaining bolts.