On May 12, 1996, at 1500 hours Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-25-235, N6844Z, owned and operated by the pilot, experienced a total loss of engine power during initial climb while towing a glider. The tow pilot released the glider, and the glider landed uneventfully. Having insufficient altitude to return to the departure airstrip, the tow pilot made a forced landing on a nearby dirt road. During rollout, the airplane was substantially damaged, and the commercial pilot was not injured. The flight originated from Krey Field, Adelanto, California, at 1455.

According to the pilot, he experienced the engine power loss at 700 feet above ground level. During rollout from the forced landing, the airplane collided with bushes.

The pilot further reported that the "cause of the engine quitting was fuel starvation. The fuel tank was empty." The pilot also indicated that his airplane's fuel tank gauge had malfunctioned and it had a tendency to hang up.

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