CEN12LA007
CEN12LA007

On October 5, 2011, at 1200 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N6403A, experienced a nose gear collapse and substantial damage during an off airport forced landing following a loss of engine power in Centerburg, Ohio. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane, which was owned and operated by the pilot, was on a personal flight. The flight was being operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight originated the Blue Ash Airport, Cincinnati, Ohio, at 1100.

The pilot reported that he visually checked the fuel level in the tanks and compared it against the fuel quantity gauges prior to the flight. He stated the left tank contained about 6 gallons of fuel and the right tank contained about 10 gallons. The takeoff was made using fuel form the left fuel tank. Shortly after takeoff, he switched the fuel selector from the left tank, which was indicating 1 to 2 gallons of fuel, to the right tank. The flight continued for another 50 minutes and during the descent to the destination airport, the engine lost power. The right fuel quantity indicator was indicating 5 gallons of fuel at the time. The pilot stated that when he switched the fuel selector back to the left tank in an attempt to restart the engine, the right fuel quantity indicator dropped to zero gallons. The pilot was not able to restart the engine and a forced landing was made in a corn field. The nose gear collapsed and the firewall was bent during the landing.

A postaccident inspection of the airplane revealed both fuel tanks were empty and a small amount of fuel remained in the gascolator. The pilot stated he did not recall when the airplane was last fueled. The reason for the discrepancy of the right fuel quantity indicator versus the amount of fuel in the right fuel tank was not determined.

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