DEN01LA129
DEN01LA129

On July 26, 2001, approximately 1930 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N181SP, operated by SB Aviation Group, Inc., doing business as Seven Bar Four Corners, was destroyed when it struck power lines during cruise flight near Farmington, New Mexico. The private pilot and his passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight conducted under Title 49 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Farmington, New Mexico, at approximately 1900.

According to the pilot's accident report, he was flying 500 feet above the ground when the engine began to "stutter." Being familiar with the area, he flew west towards the Arkansas Loop, an oil field road. As he banked right towards the road, he called the Farmington control tower but got no response. He checked the carburetor heat, mixture, and fuel selector for proper positions. As the airplane continued the bank, he felt a "hard jerk" and heard a "screeching noise." His passenger told him they had struck a power line. The engine regained power, and the pilot, again, tried contacting the Farmington control tower to no avail. After inspecting the airplane damage, he decided to proceed to the Aztec Airport. The airplane was now 100 feet above the ground and he realized it would not climb. The pilot attempted to make a forced landing, but struck trees short of the road on which he intended to land. The airplane then struck the road, skidded, and struck another tree. The impact spun the airplane around and it came to a halt. Both wings and the empennage were extensively damaged.

According to an FAA inspector who examined the wreckage, there were 3.5 gallons of fuel in the left wing tank and 15.0 gallons in the right tank. The fuel selector was positioned on the left tank (the pilot told the inspector he had switched to the left tank after striking the power line because he was concerned he would leak fuel from the damaged right wing tank). There were no obstructions of the vented fuel tank caps. Fuel system integrity had not been compromised.

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