NTSB Identification: ANC01LA029.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 13, 2001 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N2191J
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.

The private certificated pilot was in cruise flight about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). He observed an area of snow showers ahead of the airplane, and decided to descend to about 500 feet agl. The pilot said he reduced the engine throttle without first applying carburetor heat. When he added engine throttle to level the airplane at 500 feet, the engine began sputtering. He then applied carburetor heat, but the engine did not respond. The engine continued to run rough, and the airplane could not sustain level flight. The pilot selected a snow-covered gravel bar for a forced landing. The airplane touched down in snow that was about 18 inches deep. During the landing roll, the airplane nosed over, and received damage to the right wing lift strut and the rudder. The pilot reported the weather conditions in the area of the accident as 1,200 to 1,500 feet overcast; temperature 35 to 38 degrees F; light to moderate snow showers. According to published carburetor icing charts, the atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident (38 degrees and visible moisture) reflected the probability of serious icing utilizing descent power. A postaccident inspection disclosed no mechanical anomalies with the engine.

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

The pilot's improper use of the carburetor heat control. Factors in the accident were the presence of carburetor icing conditions, and snow-covered terrain that was unsuitable for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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