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Carburetor icing potential cause of Cessna crash at Qualicum Airport: TSB

The Transportation Safety Board says the crash of a Cessna aircraft in Qualicum Beach could have been caused by ice on its carburetor.

In late July 2022, a private Cessna 172P aircraft was flying from Victoria International Airport to Qualicum Beach Airport. They say fuel was added to the plane, and the pilot did a walkaround inspection just before 7 p.m., took off and flew for around 27 minutes.

The aircraft cruised between 700 metres and 760 metres before the pilot started the descent. At around 400 metres the engine started to sputter, and its engine speed dropped.

At around 7:30 p.m., the plane briefly touched the runway before becoming airborne again. The pilot declared a mayday and the plane hit trees along the edge of a farmer’s field, around 570 metres from the end of the runway.

The pilot sustained serious injuries and was taken to the hospital by emergency crews.

Following an investigation, the board determined the pilot got his licence in March 2022 and had a total of 289.7 hours of flying. They added that the engine was still in good shape despite intermittent firing below 1,800 rpm and metal particles in the sump.

While it couldn’t be certain, the board says carburetor icing could have been the cause of the crash. They say this could happen in a “gradual loss of rpm and eventual engine roughness.” Based on conditions, they add there was a potential for serious carburetor icing at descent power.

The board cautions pilots to follow their aircraft’s pilot operating handbook instructions to prevent this from happening.

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