FTW93LA240
FTW93LA240

On Sunday, August 15, 1993, at 2153 central daylight time, a Cessna 177B, N34689, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a field in Houston, Texas. The forced landing was executed following a complete power loss. The airplane, flown by a private pilot, was on a personal cross country flight. There was a VFR flight plan filed and night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the forced landing. Neither the pilot nor the two passengers were injured.

The flight had departed Ponca City, Oklahoma, at 1735, en route to Hull Field in Houston, Texas. According to the pilot, he checked the fuel tanks during preflight and they were, according to him, spilling over. Refueling records were obtained for the entire trip and they indicated that the airplane was topped off prior to departure. Upon arrival in the Houston area, the pilot descended from his cruise altitude to 2,700 feet and turned west to avoid the TCA. He stated that shortly thereafter, the RPM began to drop. He checked the fuel selector to make sure it was on both, activated the boost pump, and applied carburetor heat. He stated that the RPM surged once and then the engine lost all power. He subsequently landed in open field with rough terrain.

Examination of the airplane in the field revealed there was no fuel on board. No evidence of fuel spillage was found at the accident site and there was no evidence of fuel leakage or stains found on the airplane. The accident carburetor was subsequently run on a newly overhauled exemplar engine. The test run produced a run of 5 minutes and 5 seconds on one gallon of fuel, while the test run on the exemplar carburetor produced a run time of 4 minutes and 52 seconds, both at 5 psi of fuel pressure. Both runs were made at 2,350 static RPM.

According to the pilot and ATC records, the airplane was airborne for 4 hours and 18 minutes, between the time of departure and the time of the power loss. A review of the manufacturer's performance data for the atmospheric conditions that prevailed and the power settings used by the pilot, indicated fuel consumption would have been about 9.1 gallons per hour with a 6 hour and 33 minute endurance. The operator's fuel consumption experience for the two years prior to the accident were consistent with the performance data obtained from the manufacturer. The pilot stated that he did not compute his fuel consumption during the accident flight as he had determined the amount required prior to takeoff and found that he had a reserve of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

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