On May 20, 1995, at 1030 eastern daylight time, a Ryan, Navion A, N4285K, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Taunton, Massachusetts. The pilot, David E. Hugelet, and three passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that while in cruise flight, at 2200 feet, the engine started to run rough, and then lost power. He initiated a forced landing to the Taunton Municipal Airport; however, the airplane had insufficient altitude to reach the airport. The pilot landed in an open field, 2 miles from the airport. During the landing, the nose gear was sheared off, and the left wing was bent.

FAA Inspectors reported that the fuel system was intact, there was no fuel in the tanks, and there was no evidence of fuel siphoning or leakage. The fuel cap was in place.

At the time of the accident, the airplane had flown 3.6 hours, and made five takeoffs.

The useable fuel supply of the airplane was 37 gallons. The pilot reported that on the preflight in the morning, the wing tanks were full. Ten gallons of fuel was added after the 2nd flight. The pilot did not check the wing tanks prior to departing on the accident flight.

The pilot reported the fuel gauge read between 1/2 and 1/4 at takeoff. A passenger reported he thought the fuel gauge read 1/4 at takoff, and empty when the power loss occurred.

The pilot reported that he based his flight planning on a fuel consumption rate of 12 gallons per hour.

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