Carburetor Icing – Not just a Cold-Weather Issue

On Monday, the NTSB released the probable cause of a General Aviation (GA) accident that occurred March 15, 2012 in Niceville, Florida. The NTSB determined the pilot’s use of carburetor heat was inadequate, which resulted in carburetor icing and subsequent loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger died.

On average, carburetor icing causes or contributes to two fatal accidents per year. The NTSB has identified a number of factors that lead to these accidents, including the failure of some pilots to recognize weather conditions favorable to carburetor icing and inaccurately believe that carburetor icing is only a cold- or wet-weather problem. This recent report on the Niceville, Florida crash reinforces the need for GA pilots to give extra attention to carburetor icing regardless of a flight’s departure and landing locations. For more information, see the NTSB’s Safety Alert, Engine Power Loss Due to Carburetor Icing, released December 2013.

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