On September 4, 1993, about 1845 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N10669, operated by Arizona Aviation of Mesa, Arizona, was substantially damaged from an off airport landing after a total loss of engine power during cruise flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross country flight and a VFR flight plan was filed. The renter-pilot was not injured. The flight originated at Bakersfield Municipal Airport (L45), California, at 1615 hours PDT, with a planned fuel stop at Lake Havasu, Arizona, and a final destination of Mesa, Arizona.

The pilot reported that he had refueled the airplane prior to departing Bakersfield for the return trip. He said it had required 16 gallons to top the fuel tanks with 100 low lead aviation fuel.

The pilot stated that after crossing a mountain range at 3500 feet mean sea level with the Lake Havasu Airport in sight, the engine momentarily ran rough, then quit, and the propeller did not windmill.

The pilot performed a forced landing in a sand wash area. The nose gear collapsed damaging the firewall, propeller, and a wing tip. The airplane was abandoned for several days due to site inaccessibility. During the period of abandonment, the airplane was apparently blown over by wind.


At the time of the accident, the private pilot reported a total flight time of 99 flight hours with 7 hours in the make and model of the accident airplane.


The aircraft maintenance records were obtained during the investigation. At the last annual inspection on March 3, 1993, the 1974 Cessna 150L had accumulated a total flight time of 5614.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated an additional 350 hours according to the recording tachometer.


According to the records, on August 26, 1993, at a tachometer reading of 6812.6 (17 hours prior to the accident), an engine change occurred. The log entry stated that the installed engine was a Continental 0-200-A, serial number 204805-9A. At engine installation, the log book listed the time since major overhaul as 632.1 hours with zero time since top overhaul. The log entry further stated that the engine was disassembled, cleaned, inspected, and reassembled with new gaskets, seals, and four new Superior Air Parts cylinder assemblies with pistons.


At the time of the accident the Lake Havasu Automated Weather Observation Service (AWOS) was reporting: clear below 12000 feet, visibility ten miles, temperature 104 degrees fahrenheit, dewpoint 39 degrees fahrenheit, wind 240 degrees at five knots, altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury, and the density altitude was 4000 feet.


On September 24, 1993, an examination of the airplane and engine was conducted at Lake Havasu, Arizona, after the airplane was retrieved by helicopter from the remote area on the California side of the Colorado River.

The post crash examination failed to reveal any evidence of a failure or malfunction of the engine or the associated systems. Valve and gear train continuity was established. Compression was established on all four cylinders. All spark plugs displayed acceptable wear patterns when compared to the Champion wear limits chart. Both magnetos produced sparks with manual hand rotation. The oil filter element was free of metal, and the oil pump gears were normal in appearance. The cockpit magneto switch was removed and tested with an Ohm meter, with electrical continuity established. The main fuel line was clear of obstructions. The carburetor was removed, opened, and examined. The fuel gascolator was not recovered nor was a fuel sample available for analysis.

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