On June 16, 1998, at 1900 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-25-260, N8531L, made a forced landing in a field 20 miles north of Douglas, Wyoming, following a complete loss of power. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the pilot was not injured. The flight was a ferry flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and no flight plan was filed. The last departure point was Spearfish, South Dakota, and the intended destination was Richfield, Utah, with a fuel stop planned at Douglas.

According to the pilot, he was in cruise flight when the engine gradually lost all power and he conducted a forced landing in a field. The pilot said he hitch hiked to the Douglas airport and got 10 gallons of gas which he put in the aircraft because "I just wanted to make sure of clean fuel". He said he started the aircraft and ran up the engine. It appeared to run smoothly so he attempted to taxi to a smooth area for takeoff. During the taxi, according to the pilot's statement, he hit a "chuck hole" with the right main landing gear and buckled it, which caused damage to the right wing.

According to the line service man at R & G Aircraft Service in Douglas, he received a call at home at approximately 2000 and he went to the airport where he met three "guys" who said they were following a friend who had just purchased a new plane and he had run out of gas and had made an emergency landing in a field 20 miles north of the airport.

The service man said they wanted 15 gallons of fuel and he drove them out to the aircraft which had landed on the top of a ravine. According to this witness, after the fuel was put in the pilot attempted to take off and got about 4 feet in the air. According to his attached statement, the left wing tip hit the ground and the aircraft bounced from wing tip to wing tip along the ravine. The airplane came to a stop at the top of a hill and did a 180 degree turn. The line serviceman said he then drove them to a motel in Douglas following the accident.

At the request of the Investigator-In-Charge, on July 9, 1998, the aircraft engine was started and run by an A&P mechanic at R &G Aircraft Service. He stated that the engine started "fine" and ran smooth. Both Magnetos checked within the normal range, and all temperatures and pressures were normal. The mechanic said he only ran the engine to 1,800 rpm due to the environment around the aircraft, but felt confident there was nothing wrong with the engine. (See attached statement).

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