The commercial pilot was taking off for a personal local flight in the Champion 7ECA.
He reported that, shortly after takeoff and as the plane reached about 700 feet above ground level, the engine began to gradually lose power.
He attempted to return to the departure airport, but was unable to maintain altitude.
He then chose to perform an off-airport landing near Sheridan, Arkansas, and the airplane hit trees.
Post-accident examination of the engine revealed no preimpact anomalies. A subsequent test run was performed, and no operational defects were noted.
The weather conditions were conducive for moderate icing at cruise power and serious icing at descent power, and the pilot’s description of a gradual and continual loss of engine power is consistent with the effects of carburetor icing. Therefore, it is likely that the engine lost power due to carburetor icing.
Probable cause: The partial loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA025
This October 2015 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.