Aircraft: Aeronca O-58C. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor. Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The airplane was in cruise flight at 3,500 feet MSL when the engine quit.
The pilot restarted the engine, and it ran for about 20 seconds before quitting again. He then applied carburetor heat and made numerous attempts at restarting the engine, none of which was successful. He decided to land in a field and the plane hit trees on the edge of that field.
No evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunction was found during a post-accident examination of the airframe and engine. The meteorological conditions at the time of the accident were conductive to serious carburetor icing at cruise power. Although the pilot applied carburetor heat after the initial power loss, the engine likely did not run long enough to melt the ice and restore power.
Probable cause: The pilot’s delay in using carburetor heat, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to an encounter with carburetor icing conditions.
NTSB Identification: WPR11FA120
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.