DEN99LA062
DEN99LA062

On April 1, 1999, approximately 1700 mountain standard time, a Sly RV-6A homebuilt aircraft, N80287, owned and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain following a loss of engine power while in cruise flight near Payson, Utah. The airline transport rated pilot and one passenger were not injured. The local area personal flight was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport, Spanish Fork, Utah, at 1645. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, after being airborne for approximately 15 minutes, the aircraft's engine began to lose power. He stated that he applied carburetor heat and switched the fuel tanks, but observed no change in power. The loss of engine power was gradual, with no sudden stoppage, backfiring or surging. Unable to restore power to the engine, he initiated an emergency landing along a county road 6 miles south of the airport. During landing, he switched to another road to avoid power lines. Upon touchdown, the aircraft departed the side of the road and struck a fence post, damaging the nose gear, ailerons and rudder.

At the request and in the presence of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the engine was examined and test run at the Spanish Fork Flying Service on April 16, 1999. During the inspection, the fuel was clear and free of contaminates. The engine ran with and without the fuel pump turned on, and no discrepancies were noted.

The pilot stated in his accident report that "other pilots at the scene agreed the conditions could cause carburetor icing." According to the FAA inspector present at the accident scene, weather conditions were partly cloudy and cold with calm wind. According to the inspector, "the conditions were a classic setup for carburetor icing."

According to the Van's Aircraft construction and operating manual, one method of building the internal carburetor heat system is to "run a 2-inch air hose from a heat muff and position it to feed into the alternative air inlet of the carb[uretor] air box without being attached and closed." According to the FAA inspector who examined the aircraft following the accident, this is the method by which the pilot constructed the airplane. According to the inspector, the 2-inch hose is not large enough to adequately supply enough heat to the carburetor to sufficiently melt the ice.

The aircraft was issued an airworthiness certificate by the FAA on August 24, 1995.

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