On June 14, 1996, at about 0945 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177, N3197T, lost engine power during the initial climb out after a touch and go landing at the Darke County Airport, Versailles, Ohio. The airplane descended back onto runway 27, departed the end of the runway and impacted a fence causing substantial damage. The pilot and the certified flight instructor sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Brookville Airpark, Ohio, at about 0830.

The pilot stated that he had purchased the aircraft about one year ago and needed five hours of dual instruction for insurance purposes because he had not flown in about 10 years. He stated that he was performing his Bi-Annual flight review with a licensed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Instructor when the accident happened. He stated that he had performed a preflight inspection and found the fuel tanks to be about half full using a paint stir stick as a measuring device. He said that he and his instructor departed Brookville Airpark, Ohio at about 0830 and flew direct to Darke County Airport and did about four full stop landings. On the last takeoff the pilot stated that he decided to do one touch and go before returning to Brookville Airpark. Following the touch and go the airplane climbed to about 150 to 200 feet above ground level (agl) and the engine power failed. The flight instructor took the controls and landed on the remaining runway with about 50 feet to go. The aircraft ran off the end of the runway and over a ditch, went through a fence and stopped on a road which parallels runway 27.


Damage to the aircraft consisted of a collapsed nose gear, and a collapsed right main gear. The left main gear was bent, an engine mount was broken, the fire wall was torn and the fuselage on the pilots side and the belly of the fuselage on the copilots side wrinkled. On June 17, 1996, FAA Inspectors examined the aircraft and found both fuel tanks intact and the fuel caps secure. However, there was no fuel found in the fuel tanks, sumps, or fuel lines from the tanks to the emergency shut off. In addition, State Police also stated that they found no evidence of a fuel spill or fuel in the fuel tanks at the time of their examination. The pilot was contacted by the FAA and asked when he last fueled the aircraft. The pilot stated that he had flown 3.5 hours since he last fueled up. FAA Inspectors reviewed the pilots log book and found that he had flown 4.2 hours. The FAA Inspector stated to the pilot that pattern work required more fuel then cruise flight and that the aircraft was rated at 4.6 hours in cruise flight. When the pilot was confronted with these facts by the FAA, the FAA stated that the pilot then realized that he had run out of fuel. (See attachment 1, for FAA Accident Report.)

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