LAX02LA290
LAX02LA290

On September 18, 2002, about 1600 mountain standard time, a Cessna 172G, N2982U, experienced a total loss of engine power during cruise flight. The commercial pilot, who owned the airplane, made a forced landing in a clearing adjacent to the Pima County Fairgrounds, about 4 miles west of Vail, Arizona. The airplane stalled and impacted the ground hard. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan had been filed. The personal flight originated from El Paso, Texas, about 1330 mountain daylight time.

The pilot held a current certified flight instructor certificate. He reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he had purchased the airplane earlier in the day from a company located in El Paso. He planned to fly the airplane nonstop to his home near Casa Grande, Arizona. He experienced strong headwinds while cruising en route, and noted that the airplane's fuel supply was low. The pilot stated that he should have diverted to available airports but thought he had sufficient fuel to fly home despite the headwinds. Approaching the Tucson area, he advised the air traffic controllers that he was low on fuel. When all engine power was lost he aimed for a clearing near a drag strip. On short final approach to the clearing he observed power lines and dissipated airspeed to avoid them. The airplane missed the power lines but stalled and impacted the ground hard. No mechanical problems were reported with the airplane.

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