Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Aviation Accident

Quick Launch

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA145
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 19, 2017 in Columbia, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/2018
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N1915N
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor reported that the purpose of the flight was to complete a tail-wheel endorsement for the pilot. After about 1 hour of total flight time, while attempting to take off for the fourth full-length runway departure, the flight instructor realized that the engine was not producing enough power for a successful takeoff, so he took control of the airplane and began applying maximum braking; however, the airplane departed the runway end, collided with a ditch, and then nosed over.
During postaccident examination of the airplane, no anomalies were found that would have precluded normal operation. Atmospheric conditions in the area were conducive to the formation of serious icing at cruise power. The flight instructor reported that he believed that carburetor icing led to the loss of engine power. He added that carburetor heat was applied before each landing but that it was turned off when they taxied for departure. Therefore, it is likely that carburetor ice accumulated during the taxi and that the carburetor heat was not on long enough to melt the ice before takeoff, which resulted in the partial loss of engine power.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The partial loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.