May 16, 2009, Wasilla, Alaska, Piper PA-24-250 Comanche


At about 1140 Alaska time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing and ditching following a loss of engine power. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After completing the touch-and-go landing, the pilot climbed the airplane to 1500 feet and flew east. While in level flight, he applied full carburetor heat and all engine power was lost and, after completing the emergency checklist, the pilot was unable to restart the engine. The pilot selected a lake as a forced landing site and did not lower the airplanes landing gear, but selected full flaps. He ditched the airplane about 100 feet from the shoreline. While the airplane was still floating, he exited the airplane and boarded a small pontoon boat just before the airplane sank.

The airplane was recovered from the lake. During disassembly, a mechanic discovered a charred, two-by-two-inch portion of rubberized baffling material lodged inside the carburetor air box assembly. The baffling material was traced to a worn and frayed section of engine cowling adjacent to the carburetor heat fresh air inlet duct.


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