The pilot, who reported that on a previous flight the Cessna 177RG had been filled and flown for about 3.8 hours, attempted to refuel the plane but the self-service fuel station at the departure airport “failed to dispense fuel.”
The tanks were “checked visually” and after calculations, he determined that there would be enough fuel to make the flight.
After departing, during cruise flight, about 1,800 feet above ground level, the “engine stopped.” He set the “best glide speed” toward a nearby airport. As he approached that airport, he said it “became apparent that they would not make the airport.”
He then executed a 180º turn and landed on a snow covered, frozen lake near Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, with the landing gear retracted.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s improper fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the subsequent total loss of engine power.
This March 2019 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
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