NTSB Identification: ERA10LA235
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 18, 2010 in Avon Park, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/22/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N5499B
Injuries: 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.

About one week prior to the accident, the pilot noticed fuel leaking from the accident airplane’s carburetor. He informed a mechanic responsible for the airplane, who assured him that the airplane was fine and that the leak could be stopped by knocking a screwdriver against the carburetor. The pilot did as instructed, and the leak stopped. The day before the accident, the pilot asked the mechanic whether any maintenance was conducted on the carburetor, and the mechanic informed him that no maintenance was conducted, because it was not necessary. The pilot then rented the airplane from the operator and conducted an uneventful flight to his destination. The next day, during the cruise portion of the return flight, the engine rpm suddenly decreased below 2,000 rpm. The pilot manipulated the mixture and carburetor heat controls, and verified that the ignition switch and master switches were appropriately set. The rpm continued to decrease, and about 30 seconds after the onset of the rpm drop, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot initiated a forced landing on a road, and the airplane was substantially damaged when the left wing struck a fence post.

Meteorological conditions recorded about 25 miles from the accident location indicated the conditions were conducive to carburetor icing with the engine at glide power, but not at cruise power. On-scene examination of the airplane revealed that sufficient, uncontaminated fuel was available, and that the fuel selector valve was properly set. The engine was test run on the airplane, at various rpm settings, with no anomalies noted. The carburetor was removed and further examined. When fuel was introduced via the fuel inlet, the carburetor immediately started flooding and leaking from the venturi, which was consistent with an open float valve. Further examination and teardown revealed multiple anomalies, including internal contamination and corrosion, excessive wear, incorrect parts, incorrectly installed parts, and a damaged float assembly. Some of the internal contaminants floated, and some sank in the fuel, which allowed for the possibility that the contaminants could prevent full closure of the float valve. The excessive wear and twisted float assembly could also prevent proper float operation. Improper float valve or float operation could result in either intermittent abnormal engine operation or a complete loss of power.

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

The operator's failure to correct known deficiencies with the carburetor, which resulted in a complete loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing by the pilot. Also causal was the operator's decision to rent the airplane in an unairworthy condition.

Full narrative available

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