On October 3, 1994 at 1630 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-18 airplane, N38532, registered to and operated by the pilot, experienced a loss of power after takeoff and was forced to land in a field near Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska. The personal flight was departing Merrill Field for a local flight and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged.

According to the pilot, 2 minutes after takeoff he reduced the power to 2400 RPM. The engine decelerated by itself to 1000 RPM, hesitated and then stopped producing power completely. He applied carburetor heat and switched fuel tanks. He was unable to restart the engine. The pilot attempted to glide to a road. During the glide a vehicle pulled out onto the road and the pilot had to pull up to miss the vehicle. He was unable to lower the nose quickly enough to land before striking the wires at the far end of the selected forced landing area. The airplane struck the wires and "cartwheeled" to a stop.

On scene examination of the engine by an FAA Inspector showed no external damage to the engine. Internal mechanical continuity was established and the engine rotated freely. The airplane's fuel system contained fuel which was blue in color. The position of the fuel selector during the takeoff and short flight was undeterminable because the fire department turned the fuel selector off. According to the FAA Inspector, he was unable to determine a mechanical reason for the loss of power.

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