IAD97LA090
IAD97LA090

On June 15, about 1405 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150, N8080S, was substantially damaged as it impacted the terrain during a forced landing near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot/owner was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from the Butler Farm Show Airport (3G9), at 1040.

The private pilot departed 3G9 and flew 95 miles to the northeast to a private landing strip near Port Allegheny. The pilot recently bought the airplane and used this trip as a familiarization flight. On his return leg to 3G9, the pilot became disoriented and stated that the wet compass and directional gyro were not correct. With nothing but high and rough terrain all around, the pilot set course for his last known observed airport using a "topographical reference point." He stated that he was on course using the reference point when the engine stopped. Unable to restart the engine, the pilot executed a forced landing to the top of a mountain strip mining road.

On June 16, 1997, two Federal Aviation Administration Inspectors examined the wreckage. Their examination revealed that the nose wheel buckled under the fuselage and the right main landing gear was bent aft approximately 30 degrees. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers were bent, and the right elevator had separated from the airplane. Both fuel tanks were examined and only unusable fuel remained in the right main tank.

When the Inspectors interviewed the pilot, he stated that he departed with full fuel tanks and was airborne for about 3 hours and 30 minutes. He stated that he passed a couple of airports while he was lost, but never thought he had a problem until 30 minutes of fuel remained.

When asked what power setting he used during the flight, the pilot replied that the previous owner stated that he should run the engine at "full bore". The pilot stated that he red lined the rpm gauge for the entire flight. He did not reduce the power until approximately 10 minutes prior to loss of power, when one fuel gauge read empty and the other indicated full.

The Cessna Owners Manual indicated that with Standard fuel tanks (22.5 gallons useable) with lean mixture, at 2,500 to 5,000 feet, and with 2,750 rpm set, the endurance was between 3.2 and 3.5 hours.

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