NTSB Identification: BFO96FA007.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 12, 1995 in NORWICH, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N70080
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The surviving rear seat passenger/photographer (pax) stated that during a preflight briefing, the pilot indicated that they would fly by a cottage at reduced airspeed and at about 500 feet agl, then they would climb to a higher altitude for more photographs. The pax stated that after they flew by the cottage, he did not hear an application of power to climb as expected. The pax noted their low altitude over the mountainous/hilly terrain, and 'yelled' for the pilot to climb to avoid trees. The pax said the pilot did not respond, but was leaning forward as if to be trying to read or reach something. The airplane impacted trees and fell to the ground. Witnesses on the ground stated that an airplane flew overhead at a low altitude. One witness stated the engine sounded as if it was sputtering; another stated that it was noisy and loud for a small airplane. Postaccident examination revealed no preimpact mechanical anomaly; chordwise scrape marks were found on the propeller blades. The temperature and dew point were 72 and 47 degrees F, respectively. According to icing probability charts, weather conditions were conducive for the formation of carburetor ice. The carburetor heat control was found in the 'in' position, but the engine had become detached during impact, possibly moving the carburetor heat control as it separated from the firewall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s), during a low altitude operation. A factor relating to the accident was: the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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