On July 14, 2012, about 0715 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca 7CCM, N83977, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a swamp, following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Ocklawaha, Florida. The airline transport pilot incurred minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed Woods And Lakes Airpark (FA38), Ocklawaha, Florida, about 0700.

The pilot stated that the airplane was last fueled on April 15, 2012, and not flown until the accident flight. Prior to the flight, the pilot conducted a preflight inspection of the airplane, which included verifying that the fuel gauges indicated near full; however, he did not look in the fuel tanks. The pilot also drained the fuel sump and did not observe any contamination with the fuel.

About 15 minutes after takeoff, while flying over the local area, the airplane was about 1,000 feet above ground level and 3 miles west of FA38 when the engine suddenly began to lose power. The pilot established best glide speed and started to look around for a possible place to land. At the same time, he initiated emergency procedures, which included switching the fuel tanks, but the engine did not regain power. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a swampy area. During the landing, the airplane traveled about 50 feet, nosed-over, and came to rest inverted.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the firewall was damaged during the nose-over. Further examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel tanks were not compromised and did not leak any fuel into the swamp water. Examination of the fuel tanks did not reveal any fuel in them. Additionally, no fuel was observed in the fuel lines or carburetor. The inspector then conducted a leak test with water and the fuel tanks did not leak any water. The inspector also rotated the crankshaft by hand and confirmed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity to the rear accessory section of the engine.

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