On June 19, 2013, approximately 1000 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N426SJ, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to practice maneuvers in preparation for his commercial pilot practical examination. After completing the maneuvers, he returned to PIE to practice touch-and-go takeoffs and landings. On the final leg of the traffic pattern for the second landing on runway 22, with the wing flaps fully extended and engine power at idle, the pilot realized the airplane's airspeed was low and added engine power to compensate. The engine did not respond, and shortly after, experienced a total loss of power. After attempting to restart the engine, the pilot configured the airplane for its best glide speed. The airplane touched down in the grass short of the runway and traveled over the airport perimeter access road before coming to rest. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the engine firewall, fuselage, empennage, and rudder.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He reported a total flight time of 183 hours, all of which were in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued in October 2012.

The airplane was manufactured in 2000, and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360L2A, 180-hp, fuel-injected reciprocating engine. According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on March 20, 2013. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated a total time of 1,940 hours, with 39 hours since the most recent inspection.

The 0953 weather observation at PIE included variable wind at 5 knots, few clouds at 2,400 feet, scattered clouds at 3,400 feet, temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 23 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of mercury.

An FAA inspector responded to the accident site immediately following the accident and obtained a fuel sample, which revealed no evidence of contamination. The airplane was then moved to a hangar for further examination. The engine cowling was removed, and the engine was visually inspected. The engine was subsequently started and operated through all power settings, and a magneto check was performed with no anomalies noted. A second test run of the engine also revealed no abnormalities. Examination of the fuel lines from the filter to the fuel pump, as well as the fuel distributor, revealed no debris.

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