Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N5844P accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 38.830834°N, 94.890277°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Overland Park, KS
38.982228°N, 94.670792°W
15.8 miles away
Tail number N5844P
Accident date 06 Apr 2004
Aircraft type Piper PA-24-250
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 6, 2004, at 0007 central daylight time (cdt), a Piper PA-24-250, N5844P, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Overland Park, Kansas, after a loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 business flight departed the Henry County Airport (7W5), Napoleon, Ohio, at 2020 cdt, and was en route to New Century AirCenter Airport (IXD), Olathe, Kansas. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that on April 5, 2004, he had flown N5844P from IXD to 7W5, a distance of 519 nautical miles, in order to pick up the passenger and fly him back to IXD. The passenger had arranged to purchase the airplane, but the sale of the airplane needed to be finalized at IXD.

The pilot reported that he had departed IXD at 1410 cdt with the airplane's fuel tanks full of fuel. He reported that he arrived at 7W5 at 1930 cdt and that the flight had taken 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete.

The pilot reported that he met the passenger and they fueled the airplane for the return trip at a self-service fuel pump. The pilot reported that he told the passenger to fill the tanks completely with fuel. The pilot examined the fuel level and observed the fuel "within 1/2 inch of overflowing the filler cap." The fuel receipt indicated that 38.56 gallons were added to the airplane's tanks. The airplane's fuel tanks held 60 gallons total fuel with 54 gallons useable. The pilot reported that he calculated that the airplane used approximately 12 gallons of fuel per hour.

In a written statement, the passenger reported that he visually inspected the fuel level and that the fuel was "up to the mid section of the ring the fuel cap slides into."

The pilot reported that they departed from 7W5 at 2020 cdt and climbed to 6,500 feet mean sea level and established a direct course to IXD using the on-board GPS and autopilot. He reported that he switched fuel tanks every 30 minutes to keep the fuel tanks balanced. He reported that the engine started running rough at 3 hours and 28 minutes into the flight. He switched the fuel boost pump on and switched the fuel selector from the right to left fuel tank. The engine's power came back up and the pilot started a VFR descent. The pilot reported, "Also at this point, I could see the beacon from OJC and suspecting there may be a fuel problem, I made a course change and headed toward the Executive field that I could have arrived at within 3-4 minutes."

The passenger reported that the "first tank ran dry roughly 40 miles from our destination. He [the pilot] immediately shut the autopilot off, switched on the fuel pump, and switched fuel tanks. Within 10 - 15 seconds, the airplane was back to normal cruise." The passenger reported that the GPS indicated "there were two airports only a couple of miles in front of us. I suggested to him that we land and refuel at one of the airports because it would look pretty stupid to come up short on fuel after flying past two airports." He reported that the pilot told him that there was enough fuel remaining to land at the destination airport.

The pilot reported, "At approximately 2 minutes of running on the left tank the engine started running rough and failed." He advised air traffic control (ATC) that he had an engine failure and declared an emergency. The pilot executed a forced landing to a grassy area adjacent to a well-lighted street. During the landing rollout, the airplane's wing struck a tree branch. The airplane impacted the terrain about 0007 cdt, approximately 3.8 hours after departure.

An inspection of the airplane revealed damage to the right wing, undercarriage, and propeller. The inspection of the fuel tanks revealed the fuel tanks were dry. An inspection of the fuel tanks revealed that the fuel tank bladders were intact and had not collapsed.

The pilot was an airline transport pilot with single and multi-engine ratings. He held a First Class medical certificate. He had a total of 3,605 flight hours. He had 10 flight hours in the PA-24-250.

The airplane was a Piper PA-24-250, serial number 24-925. The engine was a 250 horsepower Lycoming O-540 engine. The airplane's Owner's Handbook indicated that the fuel consumption at 75% power at 6,000 feet pressure altitude is 14.1 gph.

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GNS 430 GPS. It was programmed to display a message at 30 minute intervals for the purpose of managing the fuel balance between the two wing tanks. The passenger reported that the GPS "allowed for the winds aloft to be figured out. We did this 3 or 4 times - each time it appeared there was a slight right-quartering headwind of 7 - 10 knots. The flight was smooth the entire way, with the GPS showing a groundspeed average of 130 - 135 knots."

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate fuel calculations and the pilot's improper in-flight decision which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors were the trees and the night conditions.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.