On March 13, 1998, at 0920 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172, N54634, collided with a tree and a fence, according to the pilot, during an emergency landing near Arcadia, Florida. The aerial survey flight operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. According to the pilot, visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The air transport rated pilot was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Arcadia Airport in Arcadia, Florida, at 0920.

According to the pilot, on the day of the accident he arrived at the Lakeland Airport and completed a preflight inspection of the airplane and prepared the airplane's, navigational system for the flight. Way points (eagle nests positions) were programmed into the navigational radios for the mission. The pilot said that, there were two full fuel indications on the gauges when he turned on the aircraft master switch. The pilot also stated that, he always made a visual check of the fuel in the tanks, but during this preflight inspection, he did not recall making a visual check of the fuel quantity in the fuel tanks.

When the passenger arrived, the flight departed Lakeland, Florida enroute to Arcadia, Florida, and to inspect eagles' nests for the Florida Game and Fish Commission. After departing Lakeland, the pilot flew to the southern way points enroute to Arcadia. At 0915, the flight departed Arcadia, enroute to additional way points. As the flight descended for an approach to another nest, the pilot reported that the engine lost power. Attempts by the pilot to restart the engine, failed. The pilot selected an emergency landing area. The airplane collided with an orange tree during the approach to land. According to the pilot, the forced landing area was rough and uneven.

An examination of the airplane at the accident site disclosed that there was no fuel in either fuel tank. The wreckage examination also failed to disclose any obvious mechanical problems with the airplane.

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