On April 5, 1996, at 1910 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Cessna 180 airplane, N9600B, registered to Roy and Diane Cunningham of Anchorage, Alaska, and operated by the pilot, experienced a power loss while on short final to the Big Lake Airport, Big Lake, Alaska. The airplane landed short of the runway and nosed over. The business flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, departed Big Lake for a local test flight. The certificated commercial pilot, also a certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic, had performed maintenance on the airplane and was test flying the airplane to ensure proper flight control rigging. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane received substantial damage during the forced landing.

During a telephone conversation with the pilot on April 6, 1996, he stated that he had 10 gallons of fuel in each fuel tank. During the approach he used carburetor heat, and while on final approach the engine stopped producing power. He did not have sufficient altitude to attempt a restart. He landed short of the runway's threshold and nosed over in a large puddle of water, which he estimated to be approximately 1 foot deep. The pilot described damage to both wings, the propeller, engine cowl, and vertical fin.

The airplane was turned right side up and while sitting right side up the pilot described an explosion. The airplane was destroyed by the subsequent post accident fire.

According to the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated the power loss was because of fuel exhaustion. He stated that he had a low fuel quantity and was operating in rough/turbulent air. During the approach he used a steep nose down pitch attitude and believes the fuel tank inlet became unported.

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