On November 28, 2004, about 0845 central standard time, a Cessna 172H, N2663L, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following an in-flight loss of engine power near Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot reported a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated from the Sioux Gateway Airport/Col. Bud Day Field (SUX), near Sioux City, Iowa, about 0645 and was enroute to the Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), near Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the time of the engine power loss.

A lineman at the fixed base operator at SUX was asked to fuel the airplane the day prior to the flight. The lineman found that the tanks were full prior to his fueling the airplane.

The pilot's accident report stated, "I was cruising at [5,500 feet above mean sea level] and as I started my [descent] the engine quit running." The pilot said that he landed on a highway road, the nose wheel exited the pavement, and the nose landing gear collapsed.

The wreckage was examined on-scene and no fuel was observed in the fuel tanks. The airplane was left unattended overnight. Fuel was observed in the tanks the day after the accident. Further examination revealed that the nose gear was collapsed rearward. An outboard section of the left wing sustained substantial spar damage consistent with impact. The carburetor was found separated from the engine. The carburetor heat cable continuity was confirmed. The throttle and mixture cables were separated from their linkage consistent with overload. The fuel line to the carburetor was removed. Fuel exited the fuel line to the carburetor when each tank was selected on the fuel selector. No obstructions were found in the fuel lines. Removed spark plugs were gray to brown in color. Both magnetos produced sparks. Each cylinder produced a thumb compression. The airplane was equipped with a carburetor air temperature indicator. No preimpact anomalies were found.

At 0853, the FCM weather was: Wind 230 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds 15,000 feet; temperature -5 degrees C; dew point -6 degrees C; altimeter 30.07 inches of mercury.

According to a carburetor icing probability chart, derived by Transport Canada, the air temperature and dew point had the potential of producing serious icing at descent power.

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