NTSB Identification: DEN02LA033.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 15, 2002 in Fruitland, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/20/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 172Q, registration: N66076
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot purchased 36 gallons of avgas at 1813 and departed the airport approximately 1830. Approximately 1850, while in cruise flight, the engine "sputtered and ran rough then quit." During descent, severe turbulence was encountered and the airplane possibly entered a spin. The pilot sighted a clearing and made a forced landing in deep snow and at night. There was no odor of fuel or fuel stains at the accident site. When the airplane was removed from the site, about two or three gallons of fuel leaked onto the floor of the trailer. At the salvage yard, water was used to fill both fuel tanks. Neither integral fuel tank was breached. The fuel vent lines, check valve, fuel selector valve, fuel supply lines, and auxiliary fuel pump were unremarkable. The gascolator was not damaged and contained no fuel. The fuel screen was clean and free of debris. There were no fuel stains anywhere on the airframe. About two ounces residual fuel were drained from the carburetor. According to the engine manufacturer's investigator, "the spark plugs and exhaust system gas path exhibited dark black coloration consistent with engine operation at rich fuel/air mixture operation." Weather recorded at a remote station near the accident site was as follows: temperature, 23 degrees F.; dew point, 16 degrees F.; relative humidity, 74%; wind, 070 degrees at 6 miles per hour, gusting to 10 miles per hour. According to the "Icing Probability Chart," conditions were conducive for the formation of carburetor ice in glide and cruise power configurations.

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

the pilot's failure to apply carburetor heat. Contributing factors included carburetor icing conditions, the unavailability of suitable terrain on which to make a forced landing, and night conditions.

Full narrative available

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