On May 13, 2005, about 2100 eastern daylight time, an Ercoupe 415C, N2406H, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, after it experienced a loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff from Hummel Field, Saluda, Virginia. The certificated private pilot and the passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal local flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that the airplane was departing from runway 1, a 2,270-foot-long, 45-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The airplane was about 100 feet above the runway when it experienced a loss of engine power. The pilot attempted a forced landing to a field; however, the airplane struck a fence and a tractor, prior to coming to rest.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the carburetor mixture control cable was not properly secured. The carburetor mixture control arm was observed in the lean position, while the cockpit mixture control was in the full rich position.

The airplane had been operated for about 35 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed on April 18, 2005. In addition, the airplane owner reported to the FAA that the airplane had experienced several recent power losses since the annual inspection. According to a work order dated April 25, 2005, the owner was informed of several discrepancies with the airplane, which included "mixture cable secured with zip ties and loose."

Title 14 CFR Part 43, Appendix D, of the Federal Aviation Regulations indicated the scope and detail of items to be included in annual and 100 hour inspections. With regard to engine components, the regulation stated in part, to inspect: "Engine controls, for defects, improper travel, and improper safetying; Lines, hoses, and clamps, for leaks, improper condition and looseness; and All Systems, for improper installation, poor general condition, defects, and insecure attachment...."

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