LAX95LA204
LAX95LA204

On June 10, 1995, at 0925 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152, N48934, was destroyed during a forced landing near Helendale, California. The aircraft was operated by Midfield Aviation and was rented by the pilot for a personal solo flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The certificated private pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from the Apple Valley, California, airport about 0830 on the day of the accident.

The operator reported that he found the aircraft lying inverted on the afternoon of the accident. During the recovery process, it was necessary to remove both wings. At that time he noted that the left fuel tank contained less than 1 quart of fuel, while the right tank contained a lesser amount. He stated that the fuel caps for both tanks were secure, and there was no visible evidence of a fuel spill in the soil beneath either tank. Upon further inspection, the operator found the carburetor bowl had been broken and displaced. He also reported the absence of a fuel odor from any source other than the fuel system.

The operator reported that the aircraft had been flown .8 hours since its last refueling. He stated that according to the Hobbs meter, the pilot flew an additional .9 hours prior to the accident. The total time since the last refueling was estimated by the operator to have been 1.7 hours.

According to the manufacturer's delivery documents, the aircraft was equipped with two 13-gallon fuel tanks. The manufacturer's performance charts indicated the aircraft would have burned 5.7 gallons per hour at 75 percent power. It was estimated that there should have been approximately 16 gallons of fuel remaining at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he was at 1,000 feet agl when the engine began to miss and lose power. He said he applied carburetor heat, checked the fuel mixture, fuel selector, and circuit breakers before making a forced landing.

A postaccident inspection by the operator revealed that the tips of both propeller blades were bent forward at a near 90-degree angle. The fuel lines were checked for blockage and the magnetos were checked for electrical output. The engine was given a compression check and the spark plugs were visually examined. When the spark plugs were removed, dirt was found to have been ingested into the cylinders. No other mechanical abnormalities were noted.

A witness, who lives 0.25 miles from the accident site and is also an acquaintance of the pilot, said that she heard the aircraft prior to accident. She told investigators that she heard the engine "cut out" as it flew over, but that she was loading her car and did not see the accident occur.

FAA inspectors reported that there were several unobstructed and straight dirt roads in the immediate vicinity of the accident site running north-south and east-west.

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