On September 29, 2002, at 2100 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N9714W, operated by West Central Airways Inc., as a flight training/rental airplane, was substantially damaged during a forced landing short of runway 12 at Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was not operating on a flight plan. The student pilot received serious injuries, and the certified flight instructor (CFI) received minor injuries. The flight originated from Fergus Falls Municipal-Einar Mickelson Field Airport (FFM), Fergus Falls, Minnesota, at 1930. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The flight was the student pilot's introductory night flight. The CFI's preflight briefing with the student covered intended points of landing; runway lengths, directions, surfaces and lighting available; forecast weather for the route; time, distance, and fuel requirements for the flight; and the need to switch fuel tanks at some point during the flight.
The route of flight was from FFM to Pelican Rapids Municipal Airport-Lyon's Field, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, to Detroit Lakes Airport-Wething Field, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, to Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Hawley, Minnesota, to JKJ and returning to FFM. While on the ground at 04Y, the CFI made a mental note for the need to switch fuel tanks "probably before landing at JKJ." Upon arrival at JKJ, the CFI verbally noted the presence of another aircraft without a landing light. The CFI stated in a written statement, "this would have been a good time to switch fuel tanks." The CFI stated that while on final, with a flap setting of 10 degrees, the throttle was advanced from idle, but there was no engine power. A landing was made approximately 20 feet short of the runway 12 (4,000 feet by 75 feet, dry asphalt) with a 10 degree flap setting.
The accident airplane was manufactured in 1967 without shoulder harnesses in accordance with certification regulations at the time of manufacture. Supplemental type certificate, SA00001CH, held by Aero Fabricators, Co., provides a kit for the installation of a shoulder harness and seat belt assembly on PA-28-140, PA-28-150, PA-28-151, PA-28-160, PA-28-161, PA-28-180, PA-28-235, PA-28R-180, PA-28R-200 airplanes. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publication, Aircraft Safety Restraints, states, "A properly installed shoulder harness which is worn by an occupant is one of the most important safety devices in an aircraft because it can reduce the chance of injury in an accident. Experts say serious injuries and fatalities can be reduced by more than one-third if everyone would wear shoulder harnesses. The CFI sustained facial trauma and swelling, and the student pilot sustained a broken nose.
Examination of the airplane by the FAA revealed that the airplane's left fuel tank was empty. The right fuel tank contained a usable fuel level.