Dead Mouse leads to loss of engine power on takeoff
IFA Comment: Wildlife doesn’t know that an aeroplane is an aeroplane. It’s more likely to seem like a safe place to hibernate for a small animal. This General Aviation case is one that could be repeated. Take a good look around where you are storing an aeroplane as winter is coming.
Shortly after takeoff for the cross-country, personal flight, the Piper PA28’s engine suddenly lost partial power.
The pilot made a forced landing to a corn field near New Market, Virginia. During that landing, the left main landing gear penetrated the left wing and separated from the airplane, the nose landing gear collapsed, and the firewall and engine mount sustained substantial damage.
Post-accident examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of any pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The carburetor exhibited no external damage, however when the air box and alternate air control were removed, a dead mouse fell out of the intake manifold.
Probable cause: A loss of engine power on takeoff due to restricted air flow to the engine.
This October 2018 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.