On February 23, 1993, at 1330 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Cessna 185 airplane, N37BC, registered to and operated by the Pilot in Command, experienced a complete power loss on climb out after taking off from the Chena Marina Airstrip, Fairbanks, Alaska. The personal flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, executed a forced landing and landed on the unplowed portion of the airstrip. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The Private Certificated Pilot in Command, the sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane received substantial damage.

According to FAA Inspector Cliff Smart, a witness called anonymously and stated there had been an accident at the Chena Marina Airstrip. After interviewing the pilot, Cliff Smart stated that the pilot made a takeoff and experienced a complete power loss during the climb out. He executed a turn and landed on the unplowed portion of the airstrip. After landing and during the subsequent roll out, the elevator balance tab struck a piece of ice and the right elevator was torn in half and off the stabilizer. Examination of the airplane by a certified A & P mechanic showed that the fuel valve placard was replaced incorrectly. When the fuel selector valve was placed in the "both" position, it was actually in the "off" position. The airplane had just received a new interior and a new external paint job.

Examination of the logbooks showed that the new paint had been properly inspected and signed off in the logbook according to FAR Part 43.3 and 43.9. However, there was no entry for the new upholstery. Furthermore, the work accomplished by the upholstery shop was completed by an uncertificated individual, John Neal of New Designs Upholstery located in North Pole, Alaska. The airplane was not inspected by a certificated mechanic prior to the flight.

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