On September 18, 1997, at 1028 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N6421R, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing about one mile northeast of the Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, Indiana, when the airplane impacted trees and the terrain. The private pilot received serious injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The flight departed Angola, New York, with the intended destination of Terre Haute, Indiana. The pilot stated that the departure time was 0730 eastern standard time.

The pilot stated that his preflight planning indicated enough fuel to reach his destination; however, en route he realized that his fuel state was lower than planned and he decided to land short of his intended destination. Six miles from the airport, the pilot declared an emergency and reported he was out of fuel. He said that he switched fuel tanks in an attempt to regain engine power, but was unsuccessful. The pilot reported he was attempting to land in a grass area between runways 23L and 23R; however, the airplane contacted trees short of that area.

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors reported finding only unusable fuel in the tanks of the airplane after the accident. No leaks were evident and no other preexisting anomalies were revealed.

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