CHI04CA160
CHI04CA160

On June 20, 2004, about 1700 central daylight time, a Champion 7FC, N7690E, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain shortly after takeoff from runway 36 (4,001 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) at the Carmi Municipal Airport (CUL), Carmi, Illinois. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot reported minor injuries. The flight departed Skylane Airport (3EV), Evansville, Indiana, about 1630.

The pilot reported in his written statement that he had completed three touch and goes "in a normal manner." He stated that on the fourth touch-and-go landing, after the tail wheel had touched down, he applied full engine power for takeoff. The airplane "suddenly swerved to the right and went into the grass east of the runway." The pilot reported that he attempted to takeoff on a northeasterly heading from the grass area and the taxiway. The aircraft subsequently encountered a recently harvested wheat field east of the airport with "rather high" stubble.

The pilot noted that the aircraft became airborne in a right wing low attitude, causing the aircraft to turn toward the south. He reported that the engine power "seemed to fade" and he landed on a southerly heading in a five-foot deep ditch at the edge of the wheat field. The right wing impacted the ground, twisting the fuselage and collapsing the landing gear.

The pilot stated that he may have applied the right heel brake during the landing roll resulting in a loss of directional control. He also noted that the wheat field stubble was "high and made the attempted take off very difficult." He also noted that carburetor icing may have been responsible for the "apparent lack of full power response."

The pilot did not report any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions related to the airframe or engine.

The temperature and dew point recorded by the CUL Automated Weather Observing System at 1645 were 25 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively. Carburetor icing data obtained from Transport Canada indicates a possibility of carburetor icing at descent power under those conditions.

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