The pilot reported the Cessna 150 had seven gallons of fuel and that he had planned a short flight to a nearby airport to purchase more fuel.
During initial climb, about 750′ above ground level, the engine experienced a partial loss of power.
The pilot applied carburetor heat, but the engine rpm remained at about 1,700, and he was unable to maintain the airplane’s altitude.
He turned the airplane back toward the airport in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and realized it was not going to reach the runway.
He subsequently attempted to land in a field ahead of the runway, but the plane hit trees in the field.
The airplane’s left wing fuel tank cap was found on the runway; it likely became separated during the takeoff roll. About two gallons of fuel was drained from each wing fuel tank after the accident, and more fuel may have leaked out after the accident due to the airplane’s position, therefore, it is unlikely that fuel leaked out during the brief flight.
The engine was subsequently successfully test run on the airframe. Review of a carburetor icing chart revealed that the atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were outside of the icing envelope. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.
Probable cause: A partial loss of engine power during initial climb for undetermined reasons because examination of the engine and a successful test-run did not reveal any anomalies that would preclude normal operation.
NTSB Identification: ERA16LA116
This February 2016 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.