NTSB Identification: ATL96LA105.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 13, 1996 in HICKORY, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 172H, registration: N1637F
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During cruise flight the pilot noted a reduction in engine speed. He applied carburetor heat. The engine ran roughly a few minutes, then returned to the previous speed. The pilot indicated that the trip was taking longer than expected because of headwinds. At the destination he requested a practice instrument landing system approach. During the approach the engine sputtered. The pilot reported that at that time the fuel gauges read empty and 1/4, left and right, respectively. The engine subsequently quit and a forced landing was made to a field. The airplane nosed over after the nose wheel struck a furrow. The pilot also stated that he thought there could be a fuel problem because he previously had trouble with the right fuel gauge, and because of the length of this trip. Weather conditions were conducive to serious carburetor icing at glide power. During a post accident examination of the airplane, only residual fuel was found in the fuel system. However, the airplane was inverted about ten hours prior to its examination, and blue staining was noted on the wings around the fuel vents. Once the airplane was righted and fuel added to the fuel system, the engine operated.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Engine stoppage for undetermined reasons. A factor was the terrain furrows.

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