On March 14, 1996, at 2130 central standard time, a Piper PA-38- 112, N2503B, collided with a sign post during a forced landing on a road in St. Paul, Minnesota. The personal CFR 14 Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The last leg of the flight originated from Hayward, Wisconsin.

The pilot stated that the airplane was topped off with fuel "into the neck of the filler" which resulted in 30 gallons of usable fuel. He stated he departed Hayward at 1600 cst and flew up to Lake Superior, east of Duluth, Minnesota, and returned to land at Hayward at 1830. The pilot reported that at 2000 cst he started the engine to depart Hayward en route to Lake Elmo. While en route practice IFR holds and an approach were performed near the Anoka County Airport. The pilot had completed these procedures and was heading toward Lake Elmo when the engine "rapidly started to loose power." The pilot stated he switched fuel tanks and turned on the fuel pump. He stated that power was regained for a few seconds before power was lost a second time.

The pilot stated he maintained a 70 knot descent and prepared to land on a road (Route 36 in North St. Paul). During the landing the left wing contacted a street sign. The airplane veered across the center median and the right wing contacted another sign. The nose gear also collapsed during the forced landing.

The pilot calculated his total hobbs time between refueling and the accident as 4 hours 11 minutes. The pilot reported that using fuel consumption values based on those provided in the Pilot Operating Handbook he should have had an endurance of 5 hours.

The airplane was inspected by an Inspector from the Minneapolis, Minnesota Flight Standards District Office of the Federal Aviation Administration. He reported that upon his inspection of the airplane only residual fuel remained in the fuel system. He continued to state that the fuel system was intact with no signs of fuel leakage.

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