ERA09LA221
ERA09LA221

On March 25, 2009, at 1530 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built T-51 Mustang, N332BC, registered to Pulsar 27AC Inc., operating as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, experienced a partial loss of engine power in cruise flight near Lake Wales, Florida. The pilot made a forced landing to a palmetto field and the left and right wings received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The commercial pilot and owner/passenger of the airplane reported no injuries. The flight originated from St Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, at 1510.

The pilot stated he was in cruise flight at 700 feet when the airplane engine appeared to reduce to idle power. He pulled the throttle back, increased power, and the engine appeared to respond to the throttle application. He made a right turn towards a highway in the event he would have to make a forced landing. The owner suggested that they fly towards another airport; however, they were not sure if they could make it. The pilot further stated he turned to the left, and over flew a field to enter a downwind for landing. The engine reduced to idle power again and the airplane would not maintain altitude. The pilot made a forced landing to another field covered with palmetto plants. On touchdown the main landing gear separated and the airplane came to rest in a nose down position.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed the carburetor was loose, "which would have caused a partial or even a total loss of engine power." The owner of the airplane informed the inspector the last condition inspection on the airplane was completed on March 21, 2008, and that he did not verify that the carburetor was properly installed.

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