CHI99LA034
CHI99LA034

On November 22, 1998, at 1530 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-12, N92585, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it nosed over during a forced landing onto a plowed field following a total loss of power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight departed Sauk Center, Minnesota, at 1240 cst.

According to the pilot, he added 5-gallons of autofuel to the airplane's right and left wing tanks on the day of the accident before departure. He said he did not visually check the fuel because a ladder was not available. He said he put his finger into each fuel tank, "My finger emerged wet [from] both tanks." He said he "...ensured that the fuel caps were installed." The pilot said he assisted with "...calibrating the fuel gauges one tank at a time from empty to full during the last annual." He said he had a "...high degree of confidence in the fuel gauge accuracy."

The pilot said the airplane was cruising at 4,500-feet above mean sea level about 8-minutes north of the arrival airport when the engine stoped running. He said he had selected a field but had flown past it while attempting to get the engine started. He said the airplane touched down on the downside of a hill. As the airplane approached the end of the field the pilot said he applied elevator back-pressure to get the airplane to "...jump the ditches..." that were at the field's end. He said the airplane crossed the road next to the field and landed onto a plowed field. The airplane nosed over and came to a stop.

The on-scene investigation revealed the airplane had landed on a gravel road, bounced into the air, and landed in a plowed field. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) who had examined the accident scene and airplane, there was a "...slight fuel odor in the area, it was not sufficient to suggest fuel was leaking from the aircraft."

The PMI said there were no anomalies with the airframe, flight control system and engine that would prevent flight. The PMI said the fuel gascolator bowl and fuel screen had what appeared to be gasket seal compound in them. He said both fuel tanks were "...completely empty." He said there were colored stains around the right wing's fuel tank cap that went aft to the trailing edge. The PMI said there were no colored stains associated with the left wing tank s fuel filler cap.

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