LAX96LA029
LAX96LA029

On October 29, 1995, at 1925 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 177RG, N4110C, collided with trees during a forced landing near Madera, California. The forced landing was precipitated by a loss of power during cruise. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot and was on a personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The certificated private pilot and his three passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from the Redlands, California, airport about 1600 on the day of the accident as a flight to Modesto, California.

The pilot reported that he was in level cruise when the engine surged several times, then quit. The aircraft was pointed toward the Madera airport; however, insufficient altitude remained to make the runway. The pilot made a forced landing in an almond orchard.

Review of aircraft use logs maintained for the partnership which owns the aircraft revealed that the pilot flew 5.6 hours during the trip from Modesto to Redlands and then to the accident site. Fueling records at Redlands disclosed that the pilot purchased 12.6 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline from Redlands Aviation just prior to departure.

FAA airworthiness inspectors from the Fresno, California, Flight Standards District Office examined the aircraft at the accident site. The left fuel tank was compromised in the accident. The right fuel tank was intact. The fuel selector was positioned to the right tank, which contained only residual fuel. No fuel was found in the fuel inlet line to the servo. No fuel was found in the distributor manifold. The engine starter drive was engaged into the starter ring. No engine discrepancies were found.

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