On June 20, 1995, approximately 1930 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 152, N45936, was substantially damaged during a forced landing 20 miles north of Craig, Colorado. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The following is based on a telephone interview with the pilot and the pilot/operator report he filed. The pilot was on a solo cross-country flight from Provo, Utah, to Vernal, Utah, and return. En route to Vernal, he twice attempted to contact the Cedar City Automated Flight Service Station on the Fairfield VOR frequency to open his VFR flight plan, but was unsuccessful. He became nauseated from turbulence, but continued to Vernal and landed. After refueling, he took off to return to Provo.

The pilot was unable to get the course deviation indicator (CDI) to center, so he attempted to fix his position relative to the Myton and Vernal Vortacs. He interpreted the readings to indicate he was north of the Myton Vortac, so he flew south for 10 to 15 minutes. Unable to identify known landmarks, he then determined he was south of the Mynton Vortac. The pilot decided to follow the nearest canyon west to get into Utah valley. When the pilot exited what he thought was Hobble Creek Canyon, he sighted a 4-lane, north-south highway. He thought it was Interstate Highway 15 and that he was south of Provo (the highway was actually Interstate Highway 80 and the pilot was in northern Utah).

The pilot followed this highway until he realized he had made a mistake and turned south. "I soon exhausted my fuel supply and the engine stopped." He made a forced landing in an open field. When the airplane touched down, the nosewheel folded and the airplane nosed over.

Postaccident inspection of the airplane disclosed a placard on the instrument panel that read, "TO/FROM FLAG REVERSED TEMPORARILY."

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