ATL98LA081
ATL98LA081

On June 12, 1998, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCBC , N87027, lost power and collided with trees, near Nicklesville Georgia. The aircraft departed Milledgeville, Georgia, at 0900 for the purpose of conducting a power line patrol. The aircraft was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The commercial pilot and the passenger received no injuries, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

According to the pilot, he was tracking a power line between the cities of Gordon and Dublin Georgia, when he turned east to follow a tap line to the Oconee 10 substation. Upon reaching the station, the pilot executed a 180 degree turn, and applied full power to climb out of the valley, but the engine would not produce full power. While maneuvering in the wooded area following the loss OF engine power, the airplane collided with the trees.

According to the FAA, the aircraft's left wing made first contact with trees and separated outboard of the fuel tank. The right wing broke wrapping around the right side of the aircraft under the fuselage, and the fuselage aft of the baggage compartment was buckled from what appeared to be the tail of the aircraft hitting the ground first. The propeller cut through several tree limbs and one blade was bent and twisted forward. The engine was intact and remained attached to the airframe, and fuel was found in both tanks. No presence of water or other contaminates were found in the fuel system. On inspection, six of the eight spark plugs had been firing normal to slightly rich, with the lower plugs showing signs of lead fouling. Examination of the magnetos revealed that the left magneto produced a good spark at least 1/2 inch, while the right magneto produced a weaker spark of 1/8 inch. The propeller was rotated, compression was felt at all cylinders, and the impulse couplings clicked on each stroke confirming the engine's integrity. On July 20, 1998, the FAA inspector conducted an additional test on the right and left magneto to confirm their integrity. According to the FAA inspector both magnetos operated normally.

A review of current weather data disclosed that conditions were favorable for the formation of carburetor ice.

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