The pilot reported that about 20 minutes into the banner tow flight near Gainesville, Florida, he noticed that the Cessna 172 had descended about 100 feet from its established altitude.
He responded by increasing engine power and enriching the mixture while observing that the oil temperature gauge was indicating “hotter than normal.”
The plane continued to descend, the oil temperature continued to rise into the red arc, and the engine subsequently experienced a total loss of power.
The pilot released the banner and then unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine.
He then conducted a forced landing to a nearby field. The airplane hit a parked vehicle, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as a total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because a post-accident engine examination and test run revealed no anomalies.
NTSB Identification: ERA14LA008
This October 2013 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.