On November 27, 1996, at 1305 central standard time, a Cessna 172H, N2440L, registered to Texsan Aviation and operated by Howell's Aircraft Service, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Hammond, Louisiana. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. A flight plan was not filed for the cross country flight that originated in Grand Prairie, Texas, at approximately 0920.

The pilot reported that he was inbound to the Hammond Municipal Airport. Approximately 5 miles west of the airport, at an altitude of 2,000 feet MSL, the airplane experienced a loss of engine power. The pilot landed the airplane in a field, and during the landing roll, the left wing struck a concrete pump house substantially damaging the wing.

The FAA inspector on the scene reported that he checked the fuel tanks and found "no fuel in the right wing tank" and "about a cup" of fuel in the left wing tank. The pilot told the FAA inspector that he "thought the aircraft was full of fuel" when he began the flight. He also told the inspector that he had made "a visual check of the fuel in the tanks" during his preflight.

The operator of the airplane told the NTSB investigator that the airplane had been "topped off" the day before the accident and then flown .7 hours. The airplane was not refueled after the .7 hour flight. According to the operator's records, the accident flight lasted 4.1 hours. The operating handbook for the Cessna 172H shows that at a cruising altitude of 5,000 feet and an engine power setting of 2,500 RPM, a Cessna 172H will have an endurance of 4.8 hours.

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