No one was injured, but it did do damage to a sign and the plane. It also left more than a few drivers on the busy stretch of road a little shaken.
"The plane came out of the sky, coming straight at me," Don Martin said. "Like I said, he could've made a clean landing but a car pulled out in front of him and I'm sure they wasn't expecting an airplane either. That's when [the pilot] braked and he hit the sign and spun around and hit another sign."
The report states the plane was recently purchased and the pilot was relocating it. During the three-hour flight, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot restarted the engine multiple times, but it would not sustain power. It was then that the pilot made his forced landing.
FULL NTSB REPORT
The pilot was relocating the recently-purchased airplane, and stated that he departed on the 3-hour flight with full fuel tanks, which provided an endurance of about 5 hours. During the descent to the destination airport, the pilot advanced the mixture control to full rich, applied carburetor heat, and began to retard the throttle; the engine then suddenly experienced a total loss of power. The pilot restarted the engine multiple times, but the engine would not sustain power. The pilot subsequently conducted a forced landing to a road, during which the airplane struck a sign, resulting in substantial damage. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the wings had been removed for transport, and an unquantified amount of fuel was drained from the fuel tanks. The gascolator contained 2 to 3 ounces of fuel. The fuel line to the carburetor was removed and no fuel residue was observed. The carburetor was disassembled and the bowl contained about one ounce of fuel. The engine was rotated by hand and displayed continuity and compression throughout. Although a compression test revealed that the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinders displayed low compression, the test was conducted on a cold engine, which was contrary to manufacturer guidance and could have provided unreliable readings. No other anomalies were observed with the engine, and a definitive reason for the loss of power could not be determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined, as the fuel state of the airplane at the time of the accident could not be verified, and postaccident examination of the engine did not provide adequate information.