On August 3, 2010, about 0845 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N9101M, was substantially damaged following an impact with trees and terrain when the engine failed shortly after takeoff at Becks Grove Airport (K16), Blossvale, New York. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual. The certificated private pilot and one passenger received minor injuries. Day, visual meteorological conditions existed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot reported that the flight was destined for White Plains, New York. Shortly after takeoff on runway 6, about 100 to 150 feet above the ground, the engine “sputtered and lost power.” The pilot switched fuel tanks and the engine quit. During an attempt to return to the airport, the airplane was force landed in a wooded area about 1,200 feet east of the departure end of runway 6. The pilot reported that there was adequate fuel on board for the flight.

Two inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. They reported that the wing fuel tanks were damaged, resulting in a fuel spill at the accident site. The wreckage was then recovered to the airport where a more detailed examination was performed. The propeller was turned by hand and internal engine continuity was confirmed. Compression was observed on all four cylinders. The magnetos produced a spark on all leads when turned by hand. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and operated normally when actuated by hand. The fuel strainer was crushed. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal color and wear. The carburetor accelerator pump operated normally when actuated manually. A small amount of residual fuel was drained from the carburetor and no evidence of water was found.

The engine controls were intact. The mixture was in the full rich position, the throttle was full open, and the carburetor heat was off. The fuel tank selector valve was found in the right tank position. The selector valve functioned normally when compressed air was released through the fuel lines.

The 0853 weather observation for Rome, New York (RME) included the following: ceiling 3,700 feet overcast, surface winds from 110 degrees at 5 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point 19 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury. Carburetor icing charts indicate the aircraft was operating in conditions conducive to carburetor icing at glide power at the time of the accident.

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