Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR13LA402

Long Beach, CA, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot reported that, following a touch-and-go landing, he began a normal climb. Shortly after, the engine "sputtered" and lost power. The pilot initiated a forced landing to the remaining runway. Subsequently, the airplane landed hard and then came to rest upright. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed pliable debris, similar to silicone, within the carburetor mixture metering sleeve, which would have restricted the fuel flow and produced a lean fuel-air mixture and resulted in the loss of engine power. The source of the debris could not be determined. No additional evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure was found that would have precluded normal operation.

Factual Information

On September 9, 2013, about 1328 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N42EP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a reported loss of engine power at the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight which originated from the El Monte Airport, El Monte, California, about 1130. The pilot reported that following a touch-and-go landing on runway 25L, he began a normal climb out. Shortly after, the engine "sputtered" and lost engine power. The pilot initiated a forced landing to the remaining runway while verifying the carburetor heat and mixture control positions. Subsequently, the airplane landed hard and came to rest upright. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the right wing was structurally damaged. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. Examination of the recovered engine, a Lycoming O-360-A4M, serial number L-29230-36A, revealed that the engine remained attached to the airframe via all its mounts. All engine accessories remained attached to their respective mounts. The engine crankcase and cylinder bases appeared to be coated with oil film. All oil and fuel lines appeared to be intact and secure. The exhaust and induction system was intact. One propeller blade was bent aft about 20 degrees from midspan. The carburetor was intact. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to their respective control arms. When actuated using the cockpit controls, the throttle and mixture moved from stop to stop. The top spark plugs and ignition leads were reinstalled. The propeller was removed from the engine, straightened, and reinstalled on the engine. The engine was started 3 times utilizing the magneto starter switch. The engine ran at an idle power setting for approximately 5 to 10 seconds before shutting off. The carburetor was removed and disassembled. The plastic floats and needle were intact and appeared to be undamaged. No debris was observed within the float bowl. Air was applied to the venturi nozzle and air movement was noticed throughout the fuel passages. Pliable debris, similar to silicone, was observed within the mixture metering sleeve. The debris was removed and the carburetor was reassembled and subsequently reinstalled on the engine. Silicone was also observed on the carburetor airbox assembly. The source of the debris inside the carburetor was not determined. The engine was started and ran without incident throughout various power settings before being shut down by utilizing the mixture cut off. Review of the airplane maintenance logbooks revealed that on August 22, 2013, at a tachometer time of 1,037.4 hours, the carburetor was removed, cleaned, and the needle valve and seat were checked. The carburetor was reinstalled on the engine and subsequently returned to service. The engine had accumulated 1.5 hours tachometer time since the carburetor maintenance was performed.

Probable Cause and Findings

The total loss of engine power during initial climb due to debris within the carburetor mixture metering sleeve.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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