This June 2009 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. Injuries: None. Location: Shepherdsville, Ky. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was in cruise flight at an altitude between 1,700 and 2,200 feet MSL when the engine lost power. Attempts to restore power were unsuccessful and the pilot performed a forced landing to a soybean field. Review of the airplane logbooks revealed that the airplane had flown 2.29 hours since the last annual inspection.
The post-accident examination revealed no mechanical malfunctions, however, the mixture control cable was found to be separated from the mixture control arm. The mixture cable wire tip was not bent 90° to prevent it from being withdrawn if the attaching nut should become loose, as required by the maintenance manual. The cable did not exhibit any signs of damage or stretching, and it was not broken at the attach point to the attaching bolt in the mixture control arm of the carburetor. The mechanic who performed the last annual inspection stated that he did not remember if he bent the cable 90°.
Probable cause: The mechanic’s improper inspection of the mixture control cable.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB identification: ERA09LA372.