NTSB Identification: IAD04IA032
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Friday, July 16, 2004 in Fryeburg, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Aviat A-1A, registration: N4674L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, while cruising at 700-800 feet agl, the airplane's engine began running roughly, and experienced a loss of power. The pilot enriched the mixture, then applied carburetor heat, which made the engine run rougher, so he removed it. The engine continued to lose power until level flight could no longer be maintained. The pilot opted to land in a farmer's field; however, irrigation equipment was present, so he landed on a beach along a river. The airplane touched down fast, and subsequently floated. Nearing the end of the beach, the pilot attempted to abort the landing. When the pilot advanced the throttle, the engine responded with "about 15 percent power." The wheels of the airplane contacted the water, and the airplane nosed over, and came to rest upside down in the river. Prior to the incident, the pilot had contacted the state division of aeronautics regarding the legality of landing on sandbars in that river. Ambient temperature/dewpoint conditions at the time were favorable for moderate carburetor icing at cruise power, and serious carburetor icing at glide power.

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

The pilot's improper use of carburetor heat, which resulted in a loss of engine power. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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