On December 26, 1993, approximately 1230 central standard time a Beech BE35, N3331V, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Crystal Beach, Texas. The private pilot and the three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight.

A witness stated to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors that the airplane had departed the private grass airstrip to the south. The witness said that he observed the airplane climbing approximately 800 feet above the ground and then enter the pattern for an approach to the runway. On site examination by the inspectors revealed the airplane landed short of the runway, hit a fence, and came to rest nose down. Examination of the airplane by the inspectors (enclosed statement) indicated damage to the propeller, gear, fuselage, and wing structures.

The pilot reported that he "felt like he did not have full power and RPM" during the climb. About 200 feet above the ground, the door inadvertently opened and the pilot decided to return for landing and secure the door. During final approach approximately 300 feet above the ground, the pilot reported a total loss of engine power to the passengers. The pilot reported that he could "only assume the cause of the power loss can be attributed to carburetor ice." The pilot reported a temperature dewpoint spread of 3 degrees Fahrenheit. The Federal Aviation Administration carburetor icing probability chart (copy enclosed) indicates serious icing at glide power.

During a telephone interview conducted by the investigator in charge, the pilot said that he had "throttled back during the approach and at 300 feet above the ground as he increased the throttle there was no power increase." He described the engine "as sputtering and coughing." He said the propeller was "turning slightly."

A representative of the manufacturer (report enclosed) examined the engine. No anomalies that would have contributed to the power loss were reported.


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