Aircraft: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: None. Location: North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was conducting a banner-tow flight. The accident happened as he approached to pick up the banner.
The airplane was at an altitude of 300 feet AGL when he reduced the power to the idle. His said his airspeed was between 60 and 70 mph and he had not activated carburetor heat.
The airplane descended to about 10 feet AGL and was 50 feet from the banner pick up poles. He added full power and noticed that the rpm was at 2,500, which was 100 rpm less than what full power should have been.
He pitched the nose up and the airplane climbed to about 200 feet. The rpm continued to decrease, dropping to 1,500 rpm.
The pilot lowered the nose to maintain airspeed and verified the throttle was full forward. He increased the mixture, and there was no change in rpm. The airplane would not maintain altitude.
The pilot told the tower that he was going down. He reduced the throttle to the idle position and lowered the flaps to the full down position for a forced landing beyond the banner tow grass area. The airplane collided with the airport perimeter fence and nosed over.
A carburetor icing chart indicated that the airplane was at risk of serious icing at glide power given the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate use of carburetor heat during cruise flight, which resulted in a partial loss of engine
NTSB Identification: ERA12LA453
This July 2012 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.