NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot reported that during a climb to cruise flight, he observed the engine rpm suddenly reduce, and he immediately applied carburetor heat. The pilot stated that the engine rpm increased for about 3 seconds before it decreased again. The pilot began troubleshooting the engine and performing the emergency landing checklist. The pilot stated that when he turned the ignition switch off and back on, the engine backfired once; however, the engine rpm remained at 1,000. He initiated a forced landing to an open, snow-covered field. During the landing roll, the airplane nosed over. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The carburetor was disassembled and examined internally. The carburetor float bowl contained a liquid consistent with fuel, which tested positive for water using water-finding paste.
A local reporting station recorded the temperature at 25 degrees Fahrenheit and dew point at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. The reported weather conditions were conducive to carburetor icing at glide and cruise power. Given the sudden loss of engine rpm before and the rise in engine rpm following the application of carburetor heat, it is likely that carburetor ice was the reason for the loss of engine power.