This May 2010 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: Piper J-3 Cub. Injuries: None. Location: Sandwich, Illinois. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, approximately 15 minutes after takeoff and while maneuvering approximately 100 feet above ground, the engine lost power.
The pilot advanced the throttle and when that didn’t restore power he applied carburetor heat. The engine did not respond. The pilot attempted to land in a muddy field. During the landing, the airplane nosed over.
Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of pre-impact failure or malfunction. However, the temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were conducive to serious icing at cruise power.
Probable cause: The pilot’s delay in using carburetor heat resulting in a partial loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN10CA252
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