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N122CC accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 37.668889°N, 95.485000°W
Nearest city Chanute, KS
37.679214°N, 95.457203°W
1.7 miles away
Tail number N122CC
Accident date 22 Sep 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-24-250
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 22, 2003, at 0130 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-250, N122CC, operated by a non-instrument rated private pilot collided with the terrain during a night forced landing about 1/2 mile southeast of the Johnson Airport (CNU), Chanute, Kansas. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in instrument meteorological conditions without a flight plan. According to the air traffic control tower at the Stinson Municipal Airport (SSF), San Antonio, Texas, N122CC departed at 2109.

The pilot reported he received several weather briefings prior to departing SSF and that the weather had finally improved enough for him to depart. He stated that upon reaching CNU he cancelled flight following and listened to the Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS) which was reporting a 200 foot ceiling with mist. He stated he made several low passes over the airport and he was unable to see the runway.

He then flew to the Allen County Airport (K88) in Iola, Kansas, but the weather was "worse" there. He stated he turned back toward CNU, at which time he knew he was low on fuel so he declared an emergency. The pilot stated that while en route he was able to see the rotating beacon at the Coffeyville Municipal Airport (CFV), so he decided to fly there.

In a telephone interview the pilot reported he became confused while attempting to fly to (CFV) and he was actually heading east instead of south. The pilot reported, "The controller I believe turned us back to Chanute, I responded I can't get in there. Just a short time later we ran out of fuel, so I flew toward a dark area through about 600 - 700 feet of fog with no engine at night." The airplane impacted the terrain during the forced landing.

The pilot reported he knew the airplane was burning more fuel then normal during the flight, but he was not concerned until he reached CNU and determined he was not going to be able to land because of the weather. The pilot reported he had 74 gallons of fuel onboard prior to departing SSF and that he used 38 gallons during a previous flight from CNU to SSF. Fuel records show the pilot purchased 39.6 gallons at SSF, on September 19, 2003.

The weather at CNU 41 minutes prior to the accident was 7 miles visibility and 200 overcast. The temperature and dew point were both 16 degrees Celsius. The weather at CNU 19 minutes after the accident was reported as 4 miles visibility with mist, 200 foot overcast, temperature and dew point were both 16 degrees Celsius.

The pilot received four weather briefings from the Wichita Automated Flight Service Station prior to departure. During the third briefing received between 1912 and 1927, he was informed that low stratus clouds had moved into the area and the ceiling at Coffeyville, Kansas, 40 miles south-southwest of CNU, was 600 overcast. He was also informed the ceiling at Parsons, Kansas, 23 miles south of CNU, was 500 overcast. He was informed that the weather was forecasted to improve within the hour. The briefer stated that the fog had not been forecast and with the moisture in the area, he was not sure how quickly the conditions would improve.

During the fourth briefing received between 2043 and 2102, the pilot was informed that the current conditions at CNU were calm winds, visibility of 10 miles, 1,000 foot broken ceiling, temperature and dew point were both 17 degrees Celsius. The forecast for CNU was winds variable at 3 knots, visibility greater then 6 miles, and scattered clouds at 10,000 feet. The briefer continued to state that he suspected the broken ceilings were going to stay in the area and the visibilities were forecasted to drop during the early morning hours. A review of the pilot's written statement failed to reveal that he had contacted any facilities while en route to obtain updated weather information.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot 's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which resulted in both his in-flight encounter with weather, and the loss of power due to fuel exhaustion. Factors associated with the accident were the night conditions, fog, and the pilot becoming lost and disoriented.

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