On March 10, 1998, at 0900 hours Pacific standard time, an Aeronca 7AC, N1659E, collided with bushes and other obstacles during an off-airport forced landing near Lone Pine, California. The forced landing was precipitated by a loss of power as the aircraft was climbing to cruise altitude. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot and was on a personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. Neither the pilot nor the one passenger onboard were injured. The flight originated from the Lone Pine airport at 0830 as a cross-country flight to Fresno, California.

The pilot reported in his written statement that as the aircraft climbed through about 3,000 feet agl the engine began to misfire, then lost almost all power. Following an unsuccessful attempt to restore normal engine power, the pilot set up for a glide toward an abandoned airfield. With insufficient altitude to make the airfield, the pilot landed in a pasture and collided with bushes and hidden obstacles in the grass.

Both magnetos were found loose in their clamps by technicians from an aircraft recovery firm who retrieved the wreckage. Logbook review disclosed that the engine had accumulated 67 hours since a major overhaul, which was accomplished May 1, 1997. This was the last maintenance recorded in the logbooks.

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