CEN10LA370
CEN10LA370

On July 2, 2010, about 1215 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-250, N5798P, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with a tree during a forced landing near Centerville, Missouri, following a loss of engine power in cruise flight. The personal flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. The flight was on an activated instrument flight rules flight plan. The pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The flight originated from the Moraine Air Park, near Dayton, Ohio, about 1040 and was destined for the Branson Airport, near Springfield, Missouri.

The pilot reported that he was in cruise at 6,000 feet above mean sea level when he saw the propeller RPMs jump and then noticed the engine not producing full power. He turned on both main fuel tanks and the electric fuel pump. He advised the air traffic controller that he had a problem. He indicated that the terrain was hilly and wooded. He lined up for a forced landing on a road. When he descended, he noted a bridge across the road. He “hopped” the airplane over a fence and landed in a pasture that contained low brush and a small tree. The airplane’s right wing sustained substantial damage on impact with the tree.

The airplane was examined on-scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. No airframe anomalies were detected. The airplane wreckage was recovered from the field and held for further examination by a FAA inspector. The FAA inspector was able to get the engine to run during the examination.

At 1152, the recorded weather about 112 nautical miles and 260 degrees from the accident site at the Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), near Springfield, Missouri, was: Wind 120 degrees at 7 knots; Sky condition clear; Temperature 26 degrees C; Dew point 14 degrees C; Altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury.

A -2 degrees C per 1,000 feet standard lapse rate to 6,000 feet above mean sea level in reference to SGF was applied to the recorded temperature and dew point. The surface temperature and dew point values and the calculated aloft values were plotted on the icing chart listed in Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35. Both their intersection fell in the “serious icing (glide power)” range.

The airplane owner’s handbook emergency procedures, in part, indicated:

Engine Failure:
The most common cause of engine failure is mismanagement or
malfunction of the fuel system. Therefore, the first step to take after
engine failure is to move the fuel selector valve to the tank not being
used. This will often keep the engine running even if there is no
apparent reason for the engine to stop on the tank being used.
If changing to the opposite fuel tank does not restore the engine:
(1) Check fuel pressure and turn on electric fuel pump, if off.
(2) Push mixture control to full rich.
(3) Apply carburetor heat.
(4) Check ignition switch.

The pilot reported that he did not use carburetor heat following the loss of engine power and did not note the indications on the carburetor temperature gauge.

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