On February 16, 1996, at about 1912 eastern standard time (EST), a Cessna 177A, N30422, lost engine power during cruise flight, and made a forced landing near Sidney, Ohio. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the forced landing. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The repositioning flight was operated under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Lima, Ohio, at 1900 EST. The intended destination was Sidney, Ohio.

The pilot reported that the flight was cruising at 3000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL), when the engine started to sputter. He stated that he applied carburetor heat and switched fuel tanks, but the engine continued to lose power. The pilot stated that he switched on the fuel boost pumps, but all attempts to restore power were unsuccessful. The pilot made a forced landing in a rough field, and the left main landing gear separated during the landing roll.

According to the Ohio State Police, the pilot said that he was repositioning his airplane when the engine lost power about six miles north of Sidney. The pilot told the police officer that the airplane had been in Lima, Ohio, for maintenance since October, 1995. The officer reported that there was about 15 to 20 gallons of fuel onboard the airplane after the accident.

The airplane was examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector after the accident. The Inspector stated that the examination included checking the fuel in the carburetor and fuel sump drain. The Inspector stated that when they examined the fuel system, a brown colored substance was found in the fuel sump drain. A postaccident engine test run was conducted with the engine still installed on the airframe. Auxiliary fuel and auxiliary electrical power were supplied for the test run. According to the FAA Inspector, the engine started normally, and "...ran smoothly. There was no indication of any malfunction during the run... ."

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