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N7631R accident description

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Crash location 41.743889°N, 72.180000°W
Nearest city Chaplin, CT
41.791765°N, 72.126465°W
4.3 miles away
Tail number N7631R
Accident date 21 Dec 2005
Aircraft type Beech 23
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 21, 2005, at 0953 eastern standard time, a Beech 23, N7631R, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power in Chaplin, Connecticut. The certificated airline transport pilot/owner sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Quonset State Airport (OQU), Kingston, Rhode Island, and was destined for Windham Airport (IJD), Willimantic, Connecticut. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot/owner provided a statement to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector. The pilot stated that while on approach to Windham Airport, the engine began to run roughly, then completely lost power. He switched fuel tanks, and attempted an engine restart, but was unsuccessful. The pilot then maneuvered the airplane toward a snow-covered field, but could not clear trees during the final approach.

The manager of the fixed base operator (FBO) at Windham Airport responded to the scene, and an examination of the airplane revealed that both wings were impact damaged, and that the fuel cells were compromised. There was an odor of fuel, but no evidence of fuel in the tanks, and little evidence of fuel spillage at the scene.

The FBO manager noticed that the fuel pump was running, so he turned off the pump and moved the fuel selector to the "Off" position. He then turned the airplane beacon and battery off.

The airplane was later moved to Windham Airport for further examination.

On December 22, 2005, the propeller was straightened, and a can of fuel was plumbed through the left fuel tank of the airplane. The engine was then started, and ran continuously on the airframe without interruption.

Examination of aircraft and fuel records revealed that the pilot had serviced the airplane with 44 gallons of fuel on November 23, 2005, and that the airplane had flown approximately 1 hour since that service.

The FAA inspector reexamined the scene with a fire inspector, and discovered considerable evidence of fuel in the soil beneath the snow.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate, as well as a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued January 13, 2003. He reported 26,950 total hours of flight experience, 580 hours of which were in make and model.

At 0952, the weather reported at Windham Airport included clear skies and no wind. The temperature was 19 degrees Fahrenheit and the dew point was 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interpolation of a carburetor icing probability chart revealed that atmospheric conditions were conducive to "icing at glide or cruise power." In a subsequent written statement, the pilot reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane, and stated, " I have reason to believe that carburetor ice was the problem, although I was using carburetor heat at the time."

NTSB Probable Cause

A complete loss of engine power due to carburetor ice. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the emergency landing.

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