The pilot, who was conducting a personal flight to practice takeoffs and landings, noted the Piper PA-28’s engine lost total power while he was preparing to land.
His attempt to restart the engine was unsuccessful.
The airplane did not have sufficient altitude to reach the airport in Carroll, Ohio, so he performed a forced landing into a field, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane’s left wing.
A post-accident examination of the airplane found that it had adequate fuel and that the airplane’s electrical and mechanical fuel pumps were capable of delivering fuel. An engine ground run showed that the engine was capable of running.
The temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were favorable for serious carburetor icing at any power setting.
The pilot stated that, just before the loss of engine power, he applied carburetor heat in preparation for landing.
On the basis of the available evidence, it is likely that the engine lost power after developing carburetor ice and that the application of carburetor heat was ineffective and had possibly exacerbated the problem by introducing hot, less dense air, which could further upset the fuel-air ratio.
The pilot might have been unaware of the developing carburetor ice because the formation of ice would reduce rpm, but might not result in rough engine operation. The reduction in rpm could have gone unnoticed given the normal engine power setting changes when the airplane was in the traffic pattern.
Probable cause: The total loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.
NTSB Identification: CEN18LA036
This November 2017 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.