NTSB Identification: DFW07CA127.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 02, 2007 in Cheneyville, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 182L, registration: N3356R
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot reported that shortly after takeoff, the engine of his single-engine airplane developed an abnormal fluctuation while climbing through 1,300 feet MSL. As a precaution, the pilot elected to return to the departure airport; however, while turning to the airport, the engine lost power, and he prepared for a forced landing to an open field. Prior to the forced landing, he noticed freshly dug ditches on both side of the field, and he repositioned to an adjacent field to the right of his initial landing spot. The pilot added that the engine began to surge when the airplane was about 300 feet above the ground, which extended his glide. The airplane touched down on soft ground, the tires sunk in, and the airplane nosed-over. Examination of the airplane revealed the fuel bladders in both wings were not breached and there was no evidence of fuel stains around the vented fuel caps. Approximately 1-gallon of light blue fuel was drained from the right tank, and less than 1-gallon of light blue fuel was drained from the left tank. The fuel was free of water and debris. The engine mounted fuel strainer bowl was empty, and the fuel screen was clean. The pilot reported that he did a preflight inspection of the airplane, but did not visually inspect the fuel tanks. Instead he relied on a fuel flow meter installed in the cockpit, which indicated a total of 43.6 gallons. The pilot reported that the gauge was usually accurate, and he was unaware of what happened to the fuel he thought was onboard.

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

The loss of engine power while climbing due to the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane prior to fuel exhaustion. A factor associated with the accident was the soft terrain at the forced landing site.

Full narrative available

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