NTSB Identification: ERA11LA093
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 18, 2010 in West Milford, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/23/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 182, registration: N1462M
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.

**This report was modified on January 21, 2014. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.**

The pilot conducted a preflight inspection that included procedures to ensure removal of accumulated water before flight. Due to the cold temperature, the pilot requested an engine pre-heat service, which was applied for an estimated 15 minutes. There were no abnormalities during the engine start, taxi, and engine run-up before takeoff. During the takeoff climb, the pilot reduced power to the cruise/climb setting. At an altitude of about 1,500 feet above ground level, the engine sustained a partial loss of power; the pilot then applied carburetor heat and elected to return to the departure airport. While returning to the airport, the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall, impacting the ground adjacent the runway. A postaccident examination did not reveal any discrepancies that would have prevented normal operation of the airplane or its systems.

A postaccident examination revealed a chunk of ice with debris frozen in the gascolator fuel bowl; however, the ice chunk was not large enough to block the fuel flow to the engine. Further examination revealed no water in the carburetor. The closest official weather observation station, about 14 miles west of the accident site, reported the temperature as 4 degrees Celsius (C) and the dew point as minus 1 degrees C about 35 minutes after the accident. Based on the ambient temperature and the dew point, serious carburetor icing conditions were possible at cruise power.

The airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), in the cold weather operation section, states that "appropriate use of carburetor heat is recommended . . . . Full carburetor heat may be required for temperatures below -12 [degrees] C whereas partial heat could be used in temperatures between -12 [degrees] C and 4 [degrees] C . . . . Use the minimum carburetor heat required for smooth operation in take-off, climb, and cruise." The investigation determined that the pilot's application of carburetor heat was not consistent with guidance in the POH, and carburetor icing developed because of the pilot's delay in applying carburetor heat.

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

The pilot's delayed application of carburetor heat while taking off in weather conditions conducive to serious carburetor icing, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

Index for Dec2010 | Index of months