Sunday, May 05, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Smith Trike, N11VW, accident occurred July 04, 2018 in Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lewiston, IL
Accident Number: GAA18CA397
Date & Time: 07/04/2018, 0835 CDT
Registration: N11VW
Aircraft: ROBERT MILES Smith Trike
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during cruise flight into "wispy clouds," the biplane’s engine started to "run rough" then lost all power. About 800 ft above ground level, he restarted the engine, but it quit again. He attempted to restart the engine multiple times but was unsuccessful, so he selected a gravel road for landing. During the landing, the airplane ground looped into a ditch. The biplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing. 

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the biplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The automated weather observation station located 25 nautical miles away from the accident site reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 170° at 5 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, clouds broken at 4,800 ft above ground level, temperature 77°F, and dew point 75°F.

The pilot stated that he did not apply carburetor heat during the accident flight. The atmospheric conditions were conducive to serious icing at glide power settings. It is likely that the engine lost power due to carburetor icing and the pilot’s failure to apply carburetor heat.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power due to the pilot's failure to apply carburetor heat in conditions conducive to carburetor icing and his subsequent failure to maintain directional control during a forced landing.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Intake anti-ice, deice - Not used/operated (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Lack of action - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Conducive to carburetor icing - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of engine power (total)

Attempted remediation/recovery
Off-field or emergency landing

Landing-landing roll
Loss of control on ground (Defining event) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/20/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 770 hours (Total, all aircraft), 73 hours (Total, this make and model), 750 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ROBERT MILES
Registration: N11VW
Model/Series: Smith Trike
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1991
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental; Aerobatic
Serial Number: 001RM
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/07/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 940 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 72.8 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: A&C65 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMQB, 707 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:1335 UTC 
Direction from Accident Site: 295°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4800 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Springfield, IL (SPI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Monmouth, IL (C66)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0615 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  40.346111, -90.168056 (est)

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