On February 5, 1996, at 1415 eastern standard time, a Cessna 180D, N6423X, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from the Islesboro Airport, Islesboro, Maine. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personnel flight that originated at Islesboro, at 1410. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that the pre-flight and engine run-up were normal. He departed from runway 19 at the Islesboro Airport (57B), and at approximately 500 feet above the ground, the airplane's engine began to run rough. The pilot initiated a right turn back to the airport, and the engine continued to run rough while the airplane climbed to 800 feet. This was followed by a complete loss of engine power as the airplane was approaching runway 01.

The pilot further stated:

"...Intersected runway at 45 degree, descending, no power, with tailwind of 10 knots. Very make left turn northbound to rwy 1. Nearly hit tree tops on east side of runway, was just regaining control...when engine gave an unexpected burst of power. This changed my mind to think of flying out to the water and landing on the frozen...bay...but power lasted perhaps 4 seconds, enough to gain 50 feet of altitude so that we were able to miss several power lines and fly, mush, into the tops of a stand of [trees]..."

The airplane then collided with trees about 1/4 mile north of the runway.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector's report, a witnesses observed black smoke coming from the engine during the airplane's return to the airport. Examination of the engine and the fuel system revealed, "...No direct evidence to establish the reason for the engine exhausting black smoke during this event..."

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