MIA04LA126
MIA04LA126

On September 3, 2004, about 1145 eastern daylight time, a Maule MX-7-235, N660HB, registered to Key Largo Seaplane Service, LLC, collided with a tree during a forced landing on Lake Shehee, near Greenville, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from Prairie Lake Private Residential Seaplane Mooring Facility, Altamonte Springs, Florida, to a lake located near Spence Airport, Moultrie, Georgia. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, and one passenger were not injured. The flight originated about 1030, from the Prairie Lake Private Residential Seaplane Mooring Facility.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to reposition the airplane due to Hurricane Francis. He visually checked the fuel tanks before the flight departed and noted the level in both was within 3 inches from the top. The flight departed, and initially climbed to 1,000 feet mean sea level (msl), then later climbed to 1,500 feet msl. When the flight was near Monticello, Florida, the engine sputtered and he maneuvered the airplane towards a nearby lake. He turned base and final for landing on the lake and with 40 degrees of flaps selected, the airplane cleared tall trees near the lake. After clearing the trees he pushed the yoke forward to descend, which caused the airplane to accelerate. He landed on the water but ran out of room and the left wing collided with a submerged cypress tree. He later stated the loss of engine power was due to fuel exhaustion.

According to a mechanic who helped recover the airplane, both fuel tanks were drained and a total of approximately 1.5 gallons of fuel were recovered. The mechanic further reported that the total unusable fuel capacity for each fuel tank is 1.5 gallons.

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