The sport pilot reported that, as he was approaching the runway at the airport in Hilton Head, S.C., he retarded the throttle and descended from 1,300′ to 1,000′ mean sea level.
He added that, a few seconds after retarding the throttle, the engine “ran rough” for a few seconds and then lost all power and would not restart.
He did not attempt to apply carburetor heat, configured the Flight Design CTSW for best glide speed, and maneuvered for a forced landing on a golf course. After landing, the left wing hit a tree.
Post-accident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation, and there was sufficient fuel onboard at the time of the accident. A test run of the engine revealed no anomalies.
Given that the weather conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to serious carburetor icing at glide power and the pilot chose not to apply carburetor heat after the engine initially lost power, it is likely that the engine lost power due to carburetor icing.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to apply carburetor heat following a loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.
NTSB Identification: ERA16LA148
This April 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.