CEN10CA087
CEN10CA087

While on a night cross-country flight the pilot experienced problems with the airplane’s global positioning system (GPS) and elected to land to recharge the battery. Once airborne again the pilot once more experienced problems with the GPS and received vectors to his destination airport. While in the vicinity of the destination airport, the pilot was unable to activate the airport’s runway lights, nor see the airport beacon. The pilot then selected an alternate airport located 45 miles away; however, while en route the airplane’s fuel supply was exhausted and the airplane experienced a complete loss of engine power. During the ensuing forced landing the main landing gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest upright in a ditch. The pilot and passengers were able to exit unassisted. A review of flight planning publications for the destination airport revealed that the rotating beacon was listed as out of service and that a frequency other then the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) was needed to activate the runway lights. In addition, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) require a pilot flying at night to have enough fuel to arrive at the intended destination plus an additional 45 minutes worth of fuel.

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