SEA99LA006
SEA99LA006

On October 22, 1998, approximately 1700 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172G, N3765L, registered to and operated by Paulsons Aircraft, as a 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, collided with a fence during a forced landing to a grass field near Vancouver, Washington, after the engine experienced a loss of power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight departed Scappoose Industrial Airpark, Scappoose, Oregon, approximately 20 minutes earlier.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that for her solo cross country flight, she departed Evergreen Airport, Vancouver, Washington, at 1350 and climbed to 3,000 feet for the first leg of the flight to Hobby Field Airport, Creswell, Oregon. The pilot stated that she circled the airport one time while determining the direction to land before descending for a touch-and-go landing. The flight then continued for the second leg of the flight at a cruising altitude of 3,000 feet to Independence State Airport, Independence, Oregon. The pilot stated that upon arrival, she circled the airport one time to determine the direction to land before descending for a touch-and-go landing. The flight then departed at a cruising altitude of 3,000 feet to Scappoose, Oregon. The pilot stated that she circled the airport one time before descending for a touch-and-go landing. The pilot stated that, "while climbing out of Scappoose at about 900 [feet], I experienced a loss of about half of my RPMs". Furthermore, "thinking it was carburetor ice, I pulled the carburetor heat out and leveled out and the RPMs returned". The pilot stated that she checked both magnetos and that they appeared to be fine. The pilot reported that she circled Scappoose airport three times to make sure the problem did not reappear, and then departed back toward Evergreen Airport at 1,500 feet. The pilot stated, "I noted the time as about 4:40 p.m. [1640], which was already five minutes past my ETA at Evergreen". The pilot reported that she revised her flight plan for an arrival at Evergreen at 1715.

The pilot reported that during the descent to Evergreen Airport, the flight's final destination, the engine lost power and a forced landing was initiated. The pilot selected a field located just to the right of the east/west grass runway at Green Mountain STOL Port, Vancouver, Washington. The pilot stated, "I did not recognize it as an airport and instead aimed for the (larger) grass strip to the immediate right of the runway". During the landing roll, the aircraft collided with a fence.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector from Hillsboro, Oregon, who responded to the accident site, reported that he found less than a half a gallon of fuel in the left fuel tank, and that no fuel could be drained from the right fuel tank. The FAA Inspector reported that after the aircraft was recovered, five gallons of fuel were added to each wing fuel tank. The engine was started and a run-up was successfully performed. The Inspector did not report finding any evidence of an engine malfunction or an in-flight fuel leak. In a statement to the Inspector, the pilot indicated that the fuel level in the fuel tanks may have been one to two inches from the top at the beginning of the flight. The pilot also stated that she thought the fuel gauges had indicated there was fuel remaining. The pilot reported that during the pre-flight inspection at Evergreen she had, "topped off the [fuel] tanks with 1.9 gallons and checked them with the fuel stick." Furthermore, "I believed them [fuel tanks] to be full." The pilot reported that she did not refuel along the route of flight.

The pilot reported that she calculated a total time of two hours and 35 minutes for the trip. However, the pilot stated that, "it would have actually taken about three hours and 15 minutes had I made it all the way back to Evergreen". Information furnished by the pilot indicated that the Hobbs meter had accumulated three hours and six minutes for the flight.

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