After a 40 minute flight to the local area, the pilot returned to Blackbushe with the intention of performing two circuits; carburettor heat was used for the approach. After a touch-and-go with the carburettor heat now selected OFF as normal, he turned crosswind at 500 ft agl, during which he reported that engine power “suddenly and significantly reduced.” With limited time and altitude available to assess the cause, the pilot elected to land in the nearest suitable field. This was in an area of woodland and the aircraft suffered significant damage due to contact with some trees during the landing. The pilot, who was wearing a lap and diagonal harness, escaped uninjured. No causal defects were identified during a subsequent examination of the aircraft by a maintenance organisation.
The weather at the time of the accident was reported as broken cloud at 3,600 ft, temperature of 11°C and a dew point of 4°C. CAA ‘Safety Sense Leaflet 14 Piston Engine Icing’ includes a chart showing the likelihood of carburettor icing in different weather conditions. The dew point and temperature conditions at the time of the accident would have been conducive to ‘serious icing – any power’.
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Published 14 September 2017