NTSB Identification: SEA97FA076.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 26, 1997 in BURLINGTON, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N97527
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

Before flight, both wing fuel tanks were 'topped off' with 50 gallons of usable fuel. At about 0950 MST, the pilot departed Worland, Wyoming, en route to Cody, Wyoming, to commence the second half of an aerial pipeline patrol route. After an estimated 20 minutes of flight, the aircraft crashed in an area of uneven, sage covered, terrain. The flaps were found extended 8 degrees, the ignition had been switched to 'LEFT,' and there was evidence that the pilot had slowed the aircraft before it impacted uneven terrain. No evidence was found to indicate that the engine was developing power when impact occurred; aft bending of the propeller was noted with minimal abrasion and chordwise scratching. Extensive hydraulic effect was noted on both main fuel tanks, as well as on one of the brass floats within the carburetor float chamber. An engine teardown revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunction, and no anomaly was found with the aircraft's fuel, air, or ignition systems. Postcrash testing of the aircraft's auxiliary fuel system revealed no mechanical malfunction. Temperature and due point at Worland were 54 and 32 degrees; according to icing probability charts, these conditions were conducive for carburetor ice; however, carburetor icing was not verified.

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

loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s). The lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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