On December 14, 1998, at 1000 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 152, N5144B, registered to Middle Tennessee State University, collided with the ground, according to the student pilot's flight instructor, during an attempted forced landing ten miles south of Shelbyville, Tennessee. The instructional flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR part 91. The student pilot had filed a flight plan for the solo cross-country flight. An examination of the airplane at the accident site disclosed that the airframe had sustained substantial structural damage. According to the flight instructor, the student pilot was not injured. The flight departed Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at 0915.

The student pilot reported that, approximately forty-five minutes into the flight, the engine rpm dropped. The student pilot pulled the throttle lever to the idle position, and applied carburetor heat. The engine rpm continued to drop, and the engine subsequently quit. Attempts by the student pilot to restore full engine power, failed (see attached pilot aircraft accident report). The student pilot selected an open field for an emergency landing. During the landing attempt, the nose wheel assembly sustained structural damage.

Examination of the airplane disclosed that the nose gear assembly had sheared off and, that the engine firewall had sustained impact damage. The examination also revealed that a fuel line in the vicinity of the chin cowling had also ruptured and an unknown quantity of fuel was spilled. Approximately a quart of liquid was recovered from the fuel system; 90% of the liquid was clear water. Water was also discovered in the carburetor bowl, and the filter assembly.

Reportedly the airplane was refueled about two days before the accident, and subsequent to the refueling, the area experienced severe thunderstorm activity. Security of the fuel caps after the refueling was not confirmed. The pilot did not report checking and securing the fuel caps during the preflight inspection.

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