On December 13, 1996, at 0530 central standard time (All times CST), a Piper PA-32R-300, N31SW, operated by Safe Wings Aviation, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing one half mile south of Garnett Municipal Airport (K68), Garnett, Kansas. The commercial pilot was not injured. The 14 CFR 135 flight had departed Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was en route to Kansas City Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, Missouri. The pilot attempted three instrument approaches to MKC but was unable to land due to weather conditions. The pilot diverted to K68 where visual meteorological conditions existed, but experienced fuel exhaustion prior to landing. An instrument flight plan had been filed but was canceled prior to landing. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that he had started working for the company four days prior to the accident. He reported that he had received training and had flown the same routes which he flew the morning of the accident.
He reported to work at 1400 the afternoon prior to the accident. His departed at 1500 on the first leg of the flight and landed in St. Louis, Missouri, at 1700. At 2115, he departed St. Louis and returned to Kansas City, landing at 2245. At 0010, he flew to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and landed there at about 0200. He reported that he departed Oklahoma City between 0230 and 0245 en route back to Kansas City. The pilot reported that he had checked the Kansas City weather before he departed Oklahoma City, and it indicated that the weather was clear. When he arrived at Kansas City, however, fog had set in. He reported that he attempted to fly the ILS Runway 3 approach but he was receiving improper glide slope readings. Then he flew two ILS Runway 19 instrument approaches at MKC but was unable to land due to the fog.
He decided to try to return to VFR conditions so he flew to the southwest. He reported that he saw a city in the distance and Kansas City Center said it was Garnett, Kansas. The pilot proceeded to Garnett Municipal Airport to make a VFR approach and landing. He reported that as he approached the airport, one fuel tank ran dry. He switched fuel tanks and was looking for the airport. He reported that when he saw the airport, he was too close to make a landing so he did a 360 degree turn to line up with the runway. However, as he was lining up for the runway, the aircraft ran out of fuel. He did a forced landing into a field about one half mile short of the runway. The landing gear were damaged during the landing. The time of the accident was approximately 0530.
The pilot reported that he had plenty of rest the day prior to the accident, and that he did not feel tired or fatigued.
The aircraft was examined and no fuel was found in the tanks.