On March 31, 1997, about 2030 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Cessna 175 airplane, N9261B, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing at the Naknek Airport, Naknek, Alaska. The private pilot and one passenger aboard were not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight operated in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight was returning to Naknek after an aborted flight to Anchorage, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge on April 2, the pilot stated he and a friend were returning to Naknek after turning around due to poor weather conditions on a flight to Anchorage. The pilot said by the time they reached Naknek, it was nearly dark, and he attempted to turn the runway lights on by tuning his airplane's radio to 122.8 MHz. and depressing the microphone transmit key five times. He said he made several passes over the field, each time trying to activate the runway lights by depressing the transmit key. On the last attempt, he said he was on a left downwind for runway 32, about abeam the approach end, when the engine lost all power. He said he was unable to reach the runway, and landed on rough terrain near the approach end of runway 32.

Postaccident inspection of the airplane by two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors who were in the area, discovered there was slightly less than one-half gallon of gasoline remaining in the right fuel tank, and none in the left. They found the cockpit fuel selector on the "BOTH" position.

The FAA inspectors also checked the runway lights to see if they would function after tuning an aircraft radio to 122.8 MHz. and clicking the transmission key five times. The runway lights would not illuminate. A call was placed to the FAA Kenai Flight Service Station, and it was disclosed that the runway lights were placed out of service in January 1997 via a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).

The pilot indicated in his written report to the NTSB that there was no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane, and that the cause of the accident was "fuel starvation."

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