On July 9, 2004, approximately 1420 central daylight time, a Cessna 150M, single engine airplane, N8959U, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during cruise flight near Sherrill, Arkansas. The student pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The cross-country flight departed Stuttgart Municipal Airport, Stuttgart, Arkansas, approximately 1345, and was destined for Sherrill.

According to the pilot, he had departed Smith's International Airport (99A), Sherrill, Arkansas, to complete a solo cross-country flight. During the cross-county flight, the pilot landed the airplane at two other airports and had flown for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. While on the final leg of a solo cross-country, approximately 1 mile from the airport, the engine began to "sputter and cut out." Shortly thereafter, the airplane's engine lost total power. The student pilot initiated a forced landing to a cornfield. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted cornstalks and terrain, and came to rest upright in a field. The pilot stated "[visual] examination [revealed] that fuel exhaustion [caused the accident]." The pilot did not refuel the airplane prior to departure from 99A or during the cross-country flight, and it was not determined how much fuel was on-board at the time of the departure from 99A.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported the aft fuselage was buckled, the nose landing gear was separated, and the firewall was bent. The inspector observed "minimal" fuel in both main fuel tanks, and no damage was noted on the propeller. The airplane was recovered for further examination.

On July 27, 2004, under the supervision of an FAA inspector, at the facilities of Dawson Aircraft, Clinton, Arkansas, the engine was test run on the airframe. According to the inspector, some oil was added prior to the engine test run. The engine started on the first attempt, and a magneto check was performed. The engine ran at various power settings for approximately 2 minutes with no anomalies noted.

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