During a local flight, the Cessna 172’s engine started to run roughly. The pilot decided to return to the airport for a precautionary landing.
About four miles from the airport and while lined up for landing, the pilot increased the engine throttle with no response. The airplane lost total power.
He decided to land the airplane on a road in Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin, about a mile from the airport. After landing on the road and coming to a complete stop, he restarted the engine and attempted to taxi off the road.
While he was taxiing the airplane, it hit three roadway signs and a fence, which resulted in structural damage to the left wing.
After the airplane was recovered, small amounts of water were present in the fuel from both wing sumps and the gascolator. The engine was started, ran normally, and both magnetos checked within normal limits.
The loss of engine power could have resulted from water in the fuel, but the definitive reason could not be determined.
Although the pilot landed the airplane successfully on the road after having engine power problems, his decision to taxi the airplane from the road and his failure to avoid the signs and fence resulted in substantial damage to the airplane.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to taxi the airplane from the road and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from signs and a fence after a successful emergency landing following a total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: CEN17LA090
This December 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.