On September 19, 2004, approximately 1000 central daylight time, a Piper J3C-65 single-engine airplane, N98659, was substantially damaged upon impact with trees during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Louise, Texas. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The registration for the airplane was pending; however, the airplane was owned by a private individual and was being operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the private airstrip at an unknown time.

During a telephone interview conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the 1,600-hour pilot reported that when the airplane was abeam the touchdown point on the downwind leg, he applied carburetor heat. After turning onto the base leg for the runway, the "engine lost power." Subsequently, the airplane descended and impacted trees, before it came to rest in the upright position.

The pilot added that instead of applying carburetor heat, he inadvertently pulled out the fuel cutoff valve, shutting the fuel supply to the carburetor. The pilot further stated that he had recently been flying a Piper J5 model airplane, and became accustom to the position of the carburetor heat in that model of airplane. He also added that that the fuel shutoff valve installed in the J3C-65 airplane is in the same location as the carburetor heat in the J5 model.

Examination of the airplane by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the tubular frame of the airframe was bent aft of the cockpit area.

A completed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) was not received from the pilot.

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