NYC93LA147
NYC93LA147

On Wednesday, August 11, 1993, at 1945 eastern daylight time, a Piper J3C-65, N98382, operated by William A. Whitmarsh, of Watford, Connecticut, struck the water in Wequetequack Cove, Stonington, Connecticut, after the engine lost power. The airplane received substantial damage and the pilot received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

In a written statement made to the Stonington Police Department, the pilot stated:

...I landed at the Old Stonington Airport, but before landing, I felt the engine hesitate, (believed to be carburetor icing). I applied carburetor heating and then landed the plane and dropped Sally off. I went back-up returning to the air, to clear the carburetor from icing conditions...I made 2 low passes over the airfield to check on my passenger. Once at 1000 [feet] I turned 180 degrees to the right and the engine failed. The right wing was already down, the plane went into a nose dive and went into a spin to the right. I corrected the procedure for the spin and recovered after 2 1/2 to 3 turns. I broke the stall about 30'[feet] above the water, and attempted to recover control of the aircraft. At that point I did not have enough altitude and consequently the right wing struck the water and the plane went out of control....

One witness, Mr. Donald Ascare stated, "...on one pass he was heading north toward RT # 1, pulled the nose of the plane up and banked steeply to the right. The engine speed and noise was low. I don't think the plane came up to speed. Shortly after this, I heard a thud....

Another witness, Ms. Cheryl Fisher stated, "...On the third circle the plane flying in a northerly direction comes down low over the trees on the side of the air strip. I saw the plane fly up again and it was out of my sight to the north...I heard a crash....

FAA Operations Inspector, Tim Olmsted, of the Windsor Locks Flight Standards District Office stated:

...Inspector[s] Olmsted and Labbe conducted an extensive inspection of the airframe and engine. All airframe components were fully functional at the time of the accident. While the engine failed to produce adequate compression during the investigation due to corrosion effects, all engine components were functional and no indication of an internal failure was found....

...Mr Whitmarsh told Inspector Olmsted he was performing Chandelle and Lazy 8 maneuvers...[He said] that after retarding the throttle during the end of one maneuver, upon returning the throttle to cruise the engine failed to respond. Carburetor heat was applied before entering the maneuver that should have prevented the icing conditions....

Additionally, according to FAA Inspector, Mr. Bertrand J, Labbe, "...Carburetor heat box was badly damaged on impact, but appears to be selected 'ON'."

The recorded temperature at Groton, Connecticut, was 68 degrees fahrenheit. The dew point was out of service for rec- certification. The reading could not be offically reported. According to the FAA controllers on duty, the dewpoint was between 60 and 62 degrees fahrenheit.

According to the carburetor icing chart supplied by the FAA, the temperature/dewpoint spread would produce, "Moderate icing - cruise power or Serious icing - glide power."

The pilot failed to complete the NTSB Form 6120.1/2 as requested.

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