NTSB Identification: CHI02LA187.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 10, 2002 in Gregory, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N621AF
Injuries: 1 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.

The student pilot was conducting a solo flight in the local practice area, when he became lost and subsequently ran out of fuel. During the resulting forced landing, the airplane nosed over due to soft terrain and was substantially damaged. In the course of attempting to locate the aircraft, the air traffic control tower instructed the pilot to tune to the local VOR and eventually the airplane was established on a course toward the VOR and the destination airport. Efforts to establish radar identification were not successful. Prior to locating the airplane, the pilot reported over an intermediate airport but did not to elect land. The tower inquired about fuel status 25 minutes after initial notification the pilot was lost. The airplane ran out of fuel 4 minutes after the tower's query, while enroute back to the original destination. FAA order 7110.65, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Handbook, specifies the information to be obtained by ATC in order to provide adequate assistance to an aircraft in distress or an "urgency" situation. This includes remaining fuel on-board.

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

An improper decision by the pilot due to a failure to land at an intermediate airport, and the unsuitable terrain for a forced landing encountered. Contributing factors were the pilot's disorientation (becoming lost), fuel exhaustion, soft terrain encountered at the forced landing site, and inadequate assistance provided by ATC.

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