On April 30, 2001, about 1850 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182Q, N129V, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Paintsville, Kentucky. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Pike County Hatcher Airport (PBX), Pikeville, Kentucky. No flight plan was filed for the local aerial observation flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that earlier in the day, he telephoned the fixed based operator (FBO) at Mount Sterling Airport (IOB), Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and asked that the accident airplane be fueled to capacity. He arrived at the airport and performed a preflight inspection of the airplane. "Both tanks appeared to be full," and the pilot departed IOB about 1230. He flew 3.0 hours according to the Hobbs meter before landing at Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22), Prestonburg, Kentucky, about 1530. The pilot did not refuel, departed K22 at 1600, and landed at PBX about 1615. He then departed PBX about 1630 with a Kentucky Forest Ranger, for the purpose of "fire spotting." About 1850, the engine lost all power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a cornfield. During the landing, the airplane struck uneven terrain and came to rest inverted.

When asked about fuel consumption, the pilot stated that he calculated an economy cruise consumption of 11 gallons per hour, and the airplane held 88 gallons of fuel. The pilot further stated, "I verified my previous estimates, allowing for fuel used in taxi, takeoffs, and landing. I estimated a maximum flying time of no more than 7 hours." He further stated that he had been flying "a little over 5 hours," at the economy power setting, when the engine lost power.

The passenger stated that they were circling over a fire when the engine lost power. The passenger asked the pilot if anything was wrong. The pilot replied, "I think we are out of gas."

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the wings, fuselage, and empennage were damaged. The inspector stated that both fuel tanks were not compromised, and did not contain any fuel. He did observe a few ounces of fuel in the fuel bowl, but did not find fuel anywhere else in the fuel system. The inspector added that he did not observe evidence of a fuel leak.

The manager of the FBO that serviced the accident airplane stated that it was completely fueled. However, a different pilot flew it for 1.2 hours before the accident pilot arrived at the airport. The manager estimated that the accident pilot departed with 76 gallons of fuel, instead of 88 gallons.

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