On February 10, 2003, about 1416 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182A, N5029D, experienced a loss of engine power while cruising near The Gap, Arizona. The commercial pilot made a forced landing on sandy desert terrain. The airplane abruptly decelerated in a nose down attitude and was substantially damaged. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot on a personal flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Bullhead City, Arizona, about 1240.

The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that the mishap occurred after taking off with full fuel tanks. While cruising about 9,500 feet mean sea level (msl), the engine developed 2,300 rpm at 22 inches of manifold pressure. The sky was clear of clouds. The pilot reported she felt a "slight shudder and noticed that the sound of the engine went to idle." She then applied full carburetor heat, enrichened the mixture, and repositioned the fuel selector to the "both tanks" position. Engine power was not restored, and the propeller continued rotating at idle speed throughout the subsequent forced landing.

The pilot additionally indicated that during the landing she observed a road beneath the airplane, but misjudged her approach and touched down 100 feet from the road in the soft desert terrain, elevation about 6,000 feet msl. The pilot did not extend the airplane's manually activated wing flaps for the landing.

The airplane was recovered from the accident site and was examined. At the request of the Safety Board investigator, a Federal Aviation Administration inspector oversaw the examination. According to the FAA, the engine's top spark plugs appeared to have no abnormal wear signatures, and the leads tested okay. Fuel was evident in the gasolator. The exhaust system appeared intact, with no signs of leakage. The engine was started and run up to full power without any abnormalities noted.

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