On September 21, 1996, approximately 1935 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150G, N2607J, was destroyed during a forced landing and collision with trees near Templeton, Massachusetts. The student pilot received minor injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions existed. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

A certificated flight instructor reviewed and approved the student pilot's flight plan, including options on various locations to refuel. The flight instructor stated that she had not anticipated the flight to extend into darkness and the student pilot stated that he got a later start than expected. The first four legs of the five leg solo cross country flight were uneventful. The fifth leg was to Gardner Municipal Airport, Gardner, Massachusetts, where the student pilot planned to remain over night. The student pilot stated that he originally planned to get fuel, but realized he was behind schedule and the sun was beginning to set. The student pilot stated that he felt, after checking his flight planning, that he had enough fuel to get to his destination and without stopping, he would arrive prior to darkness.

The final leg started at 1845, official sunset occurred at 1850. The student pilot was half way to Gardner Airport, when he calculated 17 minutes to his destination and 75 minutes of fuel remaining, and the sun had set. The student pilot stated that upon his arrival at his destination, he attempted to activate the Pilot Control Lighting (PCL) on the airport. Not seeing the PCL and unable to locate the airport, the student pilot maintained 3,000 feet and circled in the vicinity.

The student pilot contacted a Flight Service Station and stated that he was disoriented and needed assistance. Once located, the pilot was turned over to Boston Center, who vectored him to the nearest airport. When asked, the student pilot stated that he was unable see the airport, and shortly thereafter, the engine lost power. After an unsuccessful attempt to restart the engine, the student pilot told Boston Center that he was not able to make the airport. The student pilot maintained best glide airspeed until tree top level, and then stalled the airplane into the trees.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector revealed that both fuel caps were intact and when the master switch was turned on, both fuel gauges indicated empty. The FAA Inspector looked inside the fuel tanks and reported that, "there was barely enough fuel to wet the bottom in each tank." Among the paper work recovered at the scene was the starting Hobbs meter time of 5416.8 hours and the Hobbs meter in the airplane read 5420.5 hours for a total of 3.7 hours.

The student pilot's total flight experience covered 3 months with 30 hours of flight time, 13 hours as pilot in command/solo time and no night instruction received.

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