NTSB Identification: DEN05LA017.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 31, 2004 in Dotsero, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Miller Vans RV4, registration: N25HM
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.

According to the pilot, he did not file a flight plan for the flight stating that he wanted to "retain flexibility of refuel locations, based on observed weather patterns while en route." He stated that the en route weather conditions were known to be "VNR [visual flight rules not recommended] due to mountain obscuration and icing in clouds." The pilot stated that he opted for a "VFR over the top flight," while receiving en route weather updates. The departure was uneventful. At approximately 45 minutes in to the flight, the engine "failed." The pilot stated "no icing conditions were encountered." He "declared [an] emergency," and began to "search for holes," as the airplane descended into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) conditions. The airplane "broke out" of IMC, into poor visibility conditions, at approximately 1500 to 2000 feet agl. The pilot attempted to restart the engine, but the "propeller seized" while he was on a base turn for an attempted forced landing to a road. The airplane struck the top of several aspen trees, impacted the ground in a level attitude and nosed over. A post-impact fire destroyed the airplane. The local recorded weather conditions, temperature, minus 1 degree C; dew point, minus 2 degrees C, were conducive for "serious carburetor icing affects at glide and cruise power settings." During an examination, engine continuity was confirmed and no anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal engine operation.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight planning and decision making and the loss of engine power due to carburetor ice. Contributing factors include the weather conditions conducive for carburetor icing and the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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