General Aviation News will often publish short excerpts from accident reports prepared by the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) – including this accident report from June 2009 that involved a Cessna 150 in Rockwall, Texas that had a fatal crash. Specifically, the aircraft loss power shortly after takeoff, crashed in a field and ended up on its back.
According to the investigation, the pilot of the aircraft had a history of right shoulder pain which he would intermittently treat with prescription narcotic medication. Moreover, he did not wear a shoulder harness while flying because it would only exacerbate his shoulder pain. Finally, both the pilot’s shoulder pain and his treatment for it was not disclosed to the FAA.
After the fatal accident, an examination of the aircraft revealed no obvious anomalies and indicated that there was little to no power at the time of the crash. However, there was corrosion in the carburetor and the temperature at the time of the crash was conducive for the carburetor icing to occur.
Further investigation revealed that the pilot suffered fatal injuries from impacting the instrument panel and control yoke that would have been less likely to have occurred had he been wearing a shoulder harness at the time of the accident. Moreover, a toxicology test also suggested that the pilot had taken narcotic medication either on the night before the fatal accident or on both of the previous nights before the accident.
Hence, the probable cause of the crash was ruled the pilot’s failure to control the aircraft after loosing engine power due to the carburetor while the pilot’s failure to use a shoulder harness likely caused his death.