On July 4, 1999, at 2220 central daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N45078, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing in a wheat field, approximately three miles east of Lyons-Rice County Municipal Airport (LYO), Lyons, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan. The pilot reported minor injuries. The flight originated from the Johnson County Executive Airport, Olathe, Kansas, at 1920, en route to LYO.

During an interview, the pilot stated that she had inspected both fuel tanks visually and that they were "almost" full. The pilot added that during the aircraft's preflight both gauges indicated "full" and that the fuel selector was in the "ON" position. The pilot reported that she had flown the aircraft on a magnetic heading of 257 degrees, at a cruise altitude of 4,500 msl and at an engine power setting of 2,300 rpm with the mixture leaned. The pilot reported that a Global Positioning System (GPS) aboard the aircraft showed an average ground speed of 55 knots during the flight. The pilot reported that at 5.6 nmi from LYO, while descending through 3,000 feet msl, the aircraft's engine began to cough and surge; the aircraft's fuel gauges were indicating 1/4 full in each tank. The pilot stated that she landed on a heading of 257 degrees with the flaps retracted into a wheat field. The pilot reported that the aircraft did not experience a total loss of engine power and that she could not recall whether the aircraft was able to maintain altitude during the event.

In a written statement, the pilot reported the following. "Following a normal pre-flight inspection and engine run-up, I left KOJC in N45078 approximately 19:20 LCL, en route to KLYO. I opened my VFR flight plan with Columbia FSS (122.15) shortly after take-off; then contacted Kansas City Departure (118.9) for VFR flight following (remained in contact with Approach/ Center for the duration of the flight). I immediately climbed to 4500' MSL, my cruise altitude. The plane's carburetor-heat knob did not remain in the normal "off" ("in") position (it kept creeping out), so I manually held it in for the duration of the trip. I leaned the fuel-mixture, running the engine approx. 2350 RPM (2300-2400). The fuel gauges reported the left tank was draining quicker than the right, which seemed normal based on the direction of flight. I left Center's frequency approx. 10 nm from my destination airport and began reporting on Lyons' Unicom (122.8) my position/intention for landing. I began my descent into the airport environment (field elv: 1700', pattern: 2500'). I reported my position at 6 nm out, requesting any other traffic to report. Shortly after seeing 5.69 nm to the destination (GPS), the plane's engine coughed and surged. Applying full power, the engine came back briefly, but was cut in and out. The right fuel guage reported at least 1/4 tank; the left had just dropped below the 1/4-mark. Not comfortable with the condition of the engine, I switched the radio back to center and reported my emergency. I began looking for a place to set down the plane in the immediate area. Not sure Center caught my initial transmission, I radioed again that I was not going to make the airport, and I would attempt to land on the highway (US 56, just off to my left). Turning on the landing light I saw a row of trees on the north edge of the field, flew over them and put the plane down in an uncut wheat field. When the prop got caught-up in the wheat, the engine stopped, the plane was turned upside-down on its back, coming to a complete stop. I heard the ELT going-off, then let myself out. A truck with two passengers who had seen me come down stopped and helped me gather my belongings. I attempted to shut down the electrical system, ensured the engine was off, and secured the plane.

N45078's flight log shows that 8.44 gallons of fuel was entered into the fuel column of the log on July 1, 1999 with an ending tachometer time of 5319.9 hours. A comment was also entered stating, "carb heat knob slides out during flight". There were two flights logged on July 2, 1999 with an ending tachometer time of 5320.8 hours and no entries in the fuel column of the log. On July 4, 1999, the pilot's name is listed with an ending tachometer time of 5323.9 hours.

A report by the Kansas Highway Patrol stated the following. "Pilot stated she was headed for Lyons Airport and ran out of fuel...".

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