Blocked carburetor leads to power loss

This June 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 172.
Location: Brinson, Ga.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, when he was about two to three miles from the runway, the engine started “sputtering,” and lost power. The pilot was able to glide to the 2,000-foot-long turf runway, but touched down too fast and overran the runway. The pilot pulled up to clear an embankment at the departure end of the runway. The airplane stalled 30 feet above the ground, and hit the ground nose down.

Examination of the carburetor revealed that corrosion was present in and around the air and fuel jets, blocking fuel flow through the carburetor jet. There was a large amount of corrosion around the carburetor’s drain plug. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed one month before the accident. Disassembly inspection of the carburetor was not required during the annual inspection.

Probable cause: A partial loss of engine power due to a blocked carburetor jet.

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