This October 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 Dakota. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Dorrington, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: While the airplane was level at 15,000 feet in instrument meteorological conditions, the engine began losing power. The pilot made a forced landing in mountainous terrain, aiming for a road and a clearing. During the landing rollout, the plane hit trees, which severed its wings.
Icing probability charts indicated that carburetor ice was probable under the atmospheric conditions in which the airplane had been flying. The pilot reported that if he had applied the carburetor heat during flight, the accident likely would not have occurred.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to use carburetor heat while cruising in carburetor icing conditions, which resulted in a loss of engine power.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR11LA025