LAX07LA015
LAX07LA015

On October 20, 2006, at 1622 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Williams Bowers Fly Baby-1A, N6054Q, experienced a loss of engine power and made a forced landing in an open field near Oakdale Airport, Oakdale, California. The owner/builder/pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. The airplane sustained substantial structural damage during the impact, which caused the separation of a wing and the landing gear. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed about 1612, and no flight plan had been filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed the pilot. The pilot stated that the airplane had just been certified as an experimental light sport category airplane earlier in the day. This was the first flight after certification. He said there were no problems with the first takeoff and landing and that the airplane "flew great." On the second takeoff, about 2,000 feet above ground level (agl), the engine lost power. The pilot pulled out the carburetor heat, to no avail, and tried to make it back to the airport. The pilot reported that he knew he was not going to make it back to the airport, and chose an open pasture to make a forced landing. He stated that the pasture was "very rough." The landing gear and one of the wings was torn off during landing.

In the pilot's written statement, he said he had successfully flown the airplane earlier in the day without incident. During the accident flight, about 2,000 feet agl and 1 mile from the airport, the engine quit. He reported that it quit due to carburetor icing conditions that existed at the time. He made a 180-degree turn back to the airport. He knew that he was not going to make it back to the airport and landed in an open field.

In the RECOMMENDATION section of the Pilot/Operator Accident/Incident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1), the pilot reported that he should have checked more frequently for carburetor ice during the flight.

The closest official weather reporting system was Modesto City-County Airport-Harry Sham Field (MOD), Modesto, California, about 11 nm southwest of Oakdale Airport. The METAR issued at 1653 reported winds from 320 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 sm; temperature 82 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 39 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.82 inHg.

According to an icing probability chart, the possibility of icing conditions was conducive to icing at cruise power.

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