On December 10, 1997, approximately 1400 mountain standard time, a Cessna 207, N91002, owned and operated by Eagle Aviation, was substantially damaged when it collided with an object and nosed over during a forced landing near Fruita, Colorado. The commercial pilot and student pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the business flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at North Las Vegas, Nevada, approximately 1000 Pacific standard time.

The following is based on a telephone interview with the pilot and his passenger, and the pilot's accident report. The airplane owner/operator contacted the pilot and had asked him to fly his airplane and deliver a load of newspapers to Grand Junction, Colorado. The pilot agreed and his passenger "went along for the ride." The pilot said he did not visually check the fuel but "stuck his finger in the fuel tank and felt fuel" (in his accident report, he said he visually inspected the fuel). The takeoff and en route portions were without incident. When the airplane was approximately 18 miles west of Grand Junction, the engine coughed, sputtered, and lost power. The pilot was able to restore power, but the engine eventually lost all power. The pilot made a forced landing in an onion field. The airplane struck a pile of onions and nosed over.

The pilot said that he had flown other Cessna single engine airplanes, but that this was his first experience in flying the Cessna 207. He said the airplane was equipped with long range tanks, but on the accident report, he indicated 62 gallons were aboard the airplane. According to the Airplane Owner's Manual, standard tanks hold 65 gallons (58 gallons useable) and long range tanks hold 84 gallons (77 gallons useable). The pilot said he cruised at 9,500 feet msl, used a power setting of 18-19 inches of manifold pressure and 2300 rpm, and leaned the mixture.

The airplane was still inverted when an FAA inspector arrived at the accident site. When the airplane was placed upright, he found no evidence of fuel in the fuel tanks. The inspector said there were no fuel stains on the ground, and there were no fuel dye staines on either the top or bottom surfaces of the wings.

According to the Cessna 207 cruise performance chart for 10,000 feet, the engine should have developed between 48 and 51 percent of its rated horsepower (300 hp) and consumed between 10.3 and 11.0 gallons of fuel per hour. This would give the airplane a range of 695 miles and an endurance of between 5.3 and 5.6 hours. The pilot's accident report indicates the airplane had been aloft approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes.

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