WPR11LA254
WPR11LA254

On June 8, 2011, about 1730 pacific daylight time, a Cessna 177, 2301Y, owned and operated by Shawnee Partners LLC, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing onto a road in Santa Clarita, California. The commercial pilot and one pilot rated passenger were not injured. Visual Meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the San Luis County Regional airport, San Luis Obispo (SBP), California and was destined for Van Nuys (VNY), California under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

The pilot reported that prior to the flight, he visually checked the fuel quantity in the fuel tanks; the left fuel tank fuel quantity was within one inch from the filler neck, and the right fuel tank appeared to be half full. Over the area of the accident site, the pilot and passenger observed the right and left fuel gauges indicate zero. They passed over an airport that they could see beneath the cloud layer. While maneuvering around the clouds and the moisture in the area, the pilot reduced power to initiate a descent. The pilot reduced power a second time, and about three seconds later, the engine started to sputter. The pilot switched the fuel selector from the both position to the left fuel tank and the engine stopped almost immediately; he then switched to the right fuel tank, but the engine did not restart. The pilot initiated a forced landing onto a road. During landing, the wings struck road signs and the left horizontal stabilizer struck the ground, substantially damaging the airplane.

During an on-scene examination of the airframe and engine by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, no fuel was observed in either fuel tank and about 1/2 cup of fuel was drained from the fuel strainer. The FAA Inspector further observed that the airplane contained a Tuned Exhaust System which was installed on November 19, 2010. A placard located on the airplane's instrument panel stated "The Power Flow Systems, Inc. Tuned Exhaust System installed on this aircraft may cause the aircraft to burn more fuel at certain power settings. It is the Pilot's responsibility to determine what, if any, change in fuel flow exists and to plan accordingly."

At the time of the accident, the nearest weather reporting station located about 8 nautical miles to the south of the accident site reported overcast skies at 3,100 feet, a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (C) and a dewpoint of 12 degrees C. The temperature and dewpoint were plotted on the Carburetor Icing Probably Chart; there was a moderate risk of icing at cruise power or serious risk of icing at glide power.

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