On October 2, 1998, about 1411 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172K, N78624, was substantially damaged as it impacted a tree during a forced landing after takeoff from the Geauga County Airport (7G8), Middlefield, Ohio. The certificated commercial pilot/owner was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from 7G8, about 1410. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that the prior owner of the airplane flew to 7G8, picked him up, and returned to Ashtabula County Airport (7G2), about 10 minutes away. Once there, the pilot purchased the airplane. After receiving the airplane's logbooks, the pilot departed 7G2, and flew in the local area for about an hour. Upon returning to 7G8, the pilot completed one touch and go, and a full stop landing. While taxiing to his hangar, the pilot decided to perform one more takeoff and landing. The pilot recalled that he was focused on the runway markers and airspeed as he took off. The airplane was "cranked up" (nose up attitude), when the engine lost power between 200 to 300 feet.
Past midfield with power lines and a gas station at the end of the runway, the pilot made a left 90 degree turn. Faced with a hangar and parked airplanes, the pilot made a right 45 degree turn to land diagonally on an open field. Once on the ground, the pilot could not stop the airplane prior to hitting a tree. After hitting the tree, the pilot stated that the airplane whipped around and came to rest in a ditch with the empennage sticking into a road. The airplane remained upright and was towed to a hangar.
During a telephone interview, the pilot stated that he completed a preflight inspection of the airplane prior to departing 7G2, with both fuel gauges indicating about 1/4 tank. He did not visually check the fuel tanks during his inspection. He reported that during a discussion about the fuel gauges, the previous owner stated that they read low. The new owner understood that to mean there was more fuel in the tanks than what the gauges indicated. The flight back to his airport was bumpy and the gauges were bouncing around. The pilot recalled the gauges reading about an 1/8th, bouncing between E and 1/4.
Federal Aviation Administration Inspectors examined the wreckage on October 5, 1998. They stated that the left wing, outboard of the support strut, was broken and folded back, the right wing tip was crushed, and the windscreen was broken. The Inspectors reported that the engine had drive train continuity, and compression was obtained from the cylinders. The spark plugs appeared new, and spark was obtained from the magnetos. The Inspectors stated that the fuel tanks maintained their integrity and they found a total of 1.5 gallons of fuel in both fuel tanks.
The Cessna Pilot's Operating Handbook stated that the total unusable fuel onboard with standard fuel tanks was 3 gallons.