NTSB Identification: SEA04LA051.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 17, 2004 in Sisters, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N2553S
Injuries: 2 Minor,2 Uninjured.

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, who had been cruising at 7,500 feet while en route, had been in a gradual descent for about 10 minutes as he proceeded toward his intended point of landing. During the descent, he realized that the engine had lost power, so he switched fuel tanks, applied carburetor heat for about 20 seconds, and moved the throttle in and out. Since these actions did not restore power to the engine, he looked for a place to execute a power-off forced landing. Because there was no suitable smooth terrain in the area upon which to land, he slowed the aircraft and flew it onto the forested terrain in a landing attitude. During that sequence the aircraft collided with several trees. A post-accident inspection of the aircraft revealed that the wire from the carburetor heat control was no longer attached to the bolt in the fitting on the carburetor heat box actuation lever. Although the wire had come out of the hole in the bolt, the crush washer, the castle nut, and the cotter pin were all still attached to the bolt. The carburetor heat control wire housing was also found to be disconnected from its mounting point. According to the pilot, the carburetor heat was tested as part of his pre-takeoff check, and at that time there was a significant drop in rpm when the carburetor heat was actuated.

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

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Factors include no suitable place for a forced landing, and trees in the area where the pilot found it necessary to attempt the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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