On September 2, 2000, at 1359 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 177B, N30955, lost engine power and made a forced landing on a dirt road in an open area near Hinkley, California. The airplane, owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage during the landing rollout. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the ferry flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from the Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California, at 0930, and was scheduled to terminate at the Yucca Valley, California, airport.

The accident site was approximately 76 sm from the Palm Springs airport on a magnetic bearing of 320 degrees. From Yucca Valley, the accident site was about 63 sm on a magnetic bearing of 309 degrees.

The pilot was interviewed by a deputy from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department who responded to a report of an airplane landing on a dirt road. The pilot stated to the deputy that he had been flying for 2 1/2 hours and was confused as to how he had gotten to Hinkley. When questioned as to why he had landed on a dirt road, the pilot stated that he ran out of gas. The deputy further reported that the pilot was unable to carry on a lucid conversation.

In the pilot's written statement he reported that his fuel gage indicated empty and he made a forced landing on a road. On the landing rollout, the airplane struck a rut in the road and the airplane was "catapulted [onto] the side of the road." The pilot further reported that there was approximately 7 gallons of fuel onboard prior to departure.

According to the aircraft manufacturer, the airplane has a total fuel capacity of 50 gallons; usable fuel is 24.5 gallons in each fuel tank and .5 gallons of fuel on each side is unusable. Fuel burn at 2,300-2,400 rpm's was approximately 10 gallons per hour with endurance of about 4.9 hours of flight time.

K-N-J Aircraft Maintenance retrieved the airplane. The owner stated that when the pilot spoke to him, he indicated he had ran out of fuel, and on the landing rollout had struck a berm and the leading edge of the horizontal stabilator was damaged. He further indicated that the pilot informed him that the airplane was still flyable. When retrieval personnel arrived on-scene they were unable to fly the airplane out of the area, due to the damage. Retrieval personnel recovered what they estimated was about 2 gallons of fuel from each fuel tank.

A private citizen reported the accident on October 4, 2000, after inspection of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilator and the aft bulkhead areas.

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