ANC04LA047
ANC04LA047

On April 25, 2004, about 1430 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Cessna 182 airplane, N2833R, sustained substantial damage following a loss of engine power and subsequent in-flight collision with trees while on approach to land at the New Minto airstrip, Minto, Alaska. The private certificated pilot and the sole passenger reported minor injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight departed Fairbanks, Alaska, about 1350, and the destination was Minto. The flight operated in visual meteorological conditions, and a VFR flight plan was filed.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) on April 25 at 1550, the pilot related that he was in the traffic pattern at the New Minto airstrip, and was in the process of turning from base leg to final approach for runway 01 when he noticed a loss of engine power. He said he pumped the throttle, and noted an increase in engine manifold pressure, but did not see a corresponding rise in the engine tachometer, or hear the engine noise increase. He said the airstrip is elevated on a bluff, and his altitude was too low to make the runway. He elected to turn away from the runway, and made an emergency landing in trees. The airplane received structural damage to the wings and fuselage. He indicated that he was unaware of any preimpact mechanical problems with the airplane, and that the fuel tanks were nearly full. He said during the preflight inspection prior to departing from Fairbanks, he took fuel samples from each of the wing's quick drain sumps. He discovered about 1/8 of an inch of water in the left wing tank, and continued to drain samples from the tank until they were free of water. The pilot also reported that he was certain he had applied the carburetor heat as he reduced power to enter the traffic pattern.

Postaccident discussions with the pilot and an external examination of the airplane's engine by a Fairbanks Flight Standards District Office Aviation Safety Inspector did not disclose any definitive explanation for the loss of engine power. The pilot wrote in his report to the NTSB that it was possible that carburetor ice may have formed after the power reduction while on base leg, but he was uncertain if that is what was responsible for the power loss.

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