SEA01LA045
SEA01LA045

On February 3, 2001, approximately 1045 Pacific standard time, an experimental Alexander MA-5 Charger, N58LA, experienced a gear collapse during a forced landing that occurred after a partial loss of power during the climb out from Shady Acres Airport, Spanaway, Washington. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured, but the aircraft, which was owned and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 local personal pleasure flight took place in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed. The ELT, which was activated by the accident sequence, was turned off at the scene.

According to the pilot, after taxiing from the far end of the field and completing his pre-takeoff run-up, he experienced problems with his intercom and VHF radio. While attempting to correct these problems, the aircraft's engine continued to run at idle for three or four minutes without the application of carburetor heat. When he was finished working with the radio problems, the pilot pulled onto the runway and took off without applying carburetor heat to eliminate any carburetor ice that may have accumulated since the run-up check. After the aircraft reached an altitude of about 200 feet above the ground, the engine slowly began to lose power. Being unable to make it back to the airport, the pilot attempted to execute a forced landing on the grounds of a nearby golf course. Although the touchdown was successful, the main landing gear collapsed when the aircraft encountered rough/uneven terrain during the landing roll.

At the time of the accident, the temperature was 41 degrees Fahrenheit and the dew point was 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Plotting these temperatures on the Carburetor Icing Probability Chart (attached) revealed that serious carburetor icing could be expected at cruise, climb or idle power. In addition, the pilot of another aircraft that was flying in the area approximately the same time as the subject aircraft took off, reported he experienced carburetor icing at cruise power.

A post-accident inspection of the engine did not reveal any evidence of malfunctions or anomalies that would have contributed to the loss of power.

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