NTSB Identification: LAX00LA332.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 09, 2000 in SACRAMENTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/01/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 120, registration: N76261
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the takeoff climb the airplane lost power and collided with the tops of trees during the ensuing emergency landing. The pilot stated there were no mechanical anomalies noted with the preflight, or taxi to the active runway. Prior to takeoff, the airport closed for about 5 minutes. About 4 minutes after the airport reopened, the pilot was cleared for takeoff. After takeoff the engine rpm's dropped. He suspected carburetor icing and applied the carburetor heat. The engine continued to lose power. His intent was to land in-between trees on a golf course. At the last minute he had to maneuver the airplane to avoid a golf cart. He attempted to stall the airplane into the tops of the trees. Witnesses to the accident heard the engine sputtering. At the accident site fuel was found in the left tank, and on the ground underneath the right wing. The airframe and power plant were examined. The fuel selector was stiff to move and the main discharge nozzle was leaking and stained. The carburetor heat control cable retainer bolt washer, and the mixture control cable rod end retainer bolt were both loose. The carburetor was inspected and found in noncompliance with airworthiness directives. No further mechanical anomalies were noted with the airframe, power plant, or carburetor. Conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to carburetor icing.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and his improper use of carburetor heat that resulted in a loss of engine power due to carburetor icing following a delayed takeoff in conditions that were conducive to carburetor icing. A factor was the nonsuitable terrain for landing.

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