ATL97LA117
ATL97LA117

On August 8, 1997, at 1455 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N66098, collided with the ground during a forced landing to a field two miles northeast of Bryant Field In Rock Hill, South Carolina. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The two private pilots received minor injuries. The flight departed Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, at 1100 EDT.

The pilot reported that they departed with 43 gallons of fuel, of which, only 40 gallons were usable. The pilot seated in the left front seat also stated that he personally checked the fuel tanks, and they were topped off. Based upon the pilot's calculations the aircraft would use only approximately 30 gallons for the flight. The copilot reported that as the flight approached Charlotte, North Carolina, he estimated a fuel consumption rate of approximately ten gallons of fuel per hour verses the projected 7.8 gallons per hour. Despite the possible new consumption rate, both pilots were still confident that they had enough fuel to reach the destination airport.

When the flight was about three miles north of Bryant Field, North Carolina, and about 3.8 hours into the flight, the engine sputtered several times and subsequently quit. The pilot reported to Charlotte Tower that the airplane had run out of fuel. The pilot selected a field for a forced landing. The airplane was damaged during the forced landing in a freshly plowed field.

During the fuel system examination, no fuel was recovered nor was there fuel spillage in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. Examination of the airplane failed to disclose a mechanical problem . The engine also functioned normally during the engine run. According to the pilot seated in the left front seat, fuel conservation measures were employed during the cruise phase of the flight. The 3.8 hours of flight time did not include start, taxi, runup, takeoff and the initial climb to 2000 feet. According to the aircraft flight manual, the fuel consumption for the Cessna 172P configures as N66098 could range between 5.5 to 10 gallons per hour for all phases of flight.

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