Carb ice brings down Swift

Aircraft: Globe Swift. Injuries: None. Location: Anderson, S.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: About three hours into a cross-country flight the engine began to surge and lose power. The pilot applied carburetor heat, which seemed to improve engine performance briefly, but the engine surged again and eventually stopped running.

The pilot made an emergency forced landing in a field with the landing gear up and flaps down, incurring substantial damage to the underside of the airplane.

The post-accident examination of the fuel system revealed no blockage or contamination of the fuel. According to the FAA’s carburetor icing probability chart, the temperature/dew point combination at the time of the accident met the conditions favoring formation of serious carburetor icing at cruise power.

Probable cause: The total loss of engine power due to the formation of carburetor ice.

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA173

This February 2011 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.


  1. John Drago says

    Those little Continentals (145HP and less) have icing issues that can get your attention real quick, expecially in the clouds. I have had a C-150 ice up on taxi and a GC1A Swift do the same IFR on short final when I forgot carb heat, To bad the heat did not melt the ice in time in this case.

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