NTSB Identification: CEN13FA030
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 24, 2012 in Maryland Heights, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N55620
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

As the airplane was approaching the destination airport for a night landing, a witness saw the airplane maneuvering as it passed overhead. She also remarked that the engine sounded like it was sputtering and thought that the pilot was attempting to land the airplane on the beach of a nearby lake. The airplane impacted the water and cartwheeled before sinking. A test run of the engine was conducted; the engine started and ran at various power settings. An examination of the airplane and engine revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The temperature and dew point about the time of the accident indicated that the airplane was operating in conditions that were conducive to serious icing at glide power. The pilot was in an extended descent and most likely had the power on the engine reduced for the descent. Although the carburetor heat was found on it is unknown when the pilot activated the carburetor heat. The engine controls were in positions consistent with an attempt to restart the engine; it is likely that the loss of engine power was due to carburetor ice and that the carburetor heat was not activated until after the engine began to lose power.

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

The pilot’s failure to activate the carburetor heat while operating in conditions conducive to carburetor icing, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to carburetor ice.

Full narrative available

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