ATL05LA031
ATL05LA031

On November 29, 2004, at 0511 central standard time, a Cessna 172K, N78402, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with the ground and a fence during an emergency landing after a total loss of engine power while turning final to Smyrna Airport, Smyrna, Tennessee. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage. The private pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated from Columbia, Tennessee, at an undetermined time on November 29, 2004.

The private pilot stated he visually checked the fuel tanks before departing Columbia, Tennessee, and fuel was present in the fuel tanks. He also stated he could not remember what time he departed. He stated while turning from base to final the engine quit. He switched the fuel tanks and attempted a restart which was unsuccessful. The airplane cleared trees off the approach end of the runway and collided with the ground, the nose gear separated, the airplane continued forward, and collided with the airport fence.

The pilot informed law enforcement officials at the crash site that, "during the flight he experienced stronger winds than expected and used more fuel than he thought." In addition, the pilot could not produce a pilot's certificate, medical certificate, drivers license, or airplane log books when requested by law enforcement personnel. The date of the pilot's last biennial flight review was not determined, and the pilot's medical certificate was expired.

Examination of the crash site revealed the leading edge of the right wing was damaged and the spar was bent. The left and right fuel tanks were not ruptured. No fuel was present in either fuel tank. The airplane was recovered to an airport hangar at Smyrna Airport for examination. The left and right fuel sumps were drained and 1/4 gallon of fuel was removed from the left fuel tank drain. No fuel was recovered from the right fuel tank drain. During the post-accident examination of the airplane, a support brace was placed under the airplane. The engine was then started and ran at an idle power setting for three minutes before the engine quit.

A certified letter was mailed to the pilot on November 30, 2004, with the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report as an enclosure. The letter was returned to the NTSB on January 3, 2005, as "unclaimed."

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