On August 22, 2002, about 2145 eastern daylight time, Piper PA-28-181, N9089C, was substantially damaged while taxing on a highway, after a forced landing near Manassas, Virginia. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated at the Ocean City Municipal Airport (OXB), Ocean City, Maryland, destined for the Manassas Regional Airport (HEF), Manassas, Virginia. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he had departed OXB about 2050, and proceeded direct to HEF. About 3-1/2 miles from HEF, the engine began to "sputter." The pilot performed emergency procedures, which included switching the fuel tanks. The engine lost total power, and the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing to a highway, where he landed uneventfully. Since the airplane was blocking road vehicle traffic, the pilot attempted to taxi the airplane from the road to a grass area. During the taxi, the airplane struck a metal road sign with the left wing.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane after the accident. He did not observe any fuel in the wing tanks, and did not observe any fuel odors or stains at the accident site. Additionally, the pilot stated to the inspector after the accident that he had been flying for about 2 hours and ran out of fuel. He did not refuel at the Ocean City Airport.

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