NTSB Identification: CHI05LA113.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 10, 2005 in Dike, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Mattson Zenith 601XL, registration: N824M
Injuries: 1 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 airplane collided with a ditch during an off airport forced following a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that 15 minutes into the flight, the engine rpm started decreasing and he thought he smelled smoke in the cockpit. He reported that he turned off the battery switches and the engine rpm began to increase. The pilot reported he set the engine power to 2,500 rpm and began spiraling down over a private airstrip from an altitude of 4,500 feet above mean sea level (msl) when the engine lost all power. He stated he needed additional power to complete the last 360 degree turn so he elected to land in a field. The airplane struck a fence and a ditch during the landing. Inspection of the airplane and engine failed to reveal any mechanical failure/malfunction which would have resulted in a fire, smoke, or the loss of engine power. The engine was equipped with an electronic ignition system. The pilot reported the accident could have been avoided by making a "better landing on power off."

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

A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and the pilot misjudged the forced landing approach. Factors associated with the accident were the fence and the ditch which the airplane contacted.

Full narrative available

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