Looking at this old question, a comment suggested that Skyway Airlines flight 1267 was a possible answer to that question. Out of curiosity, I looked at the NTSB link of the Nov. 1996 incident report and was very surprised to find that this flight was on its way from Milwaukee, WI (KMKE) to Indianapolis, IN (KIND) (a 206 mile flight) but diverted to Fort Campbell, KY (KHOP) which is 191 miles south-southwest of KIND.

On its way from the KIND area to KHOP, the flight missed Cincinnati KCVG (85 miles from KIND) and Louisville KSDF (96 miles from KIND) as well as numerous other smaller airports that should have been able to accommodate a Beech 1900D.

I could understand this choice of destinations if KHOP were a civilian airport that happened to be a hub/maintenance facility for Skyway Airlines, but it's a military base.

Why would a pilot go so far out of his way to land at a military airport when there were numerous other suitable airports that were significantly closer, including, presumably, KIND itself, since the flight had to pass by there to reach KHOP?


1 Answer 1


Emergency landings often dictate landing at the safest airport, not necessarily the closest one. As I said in the comments, the flight was operating IFR and had turned the window heater on presumably for anti-ice. It could be that a line of weather was preventing VFR operation at closer airports and they diverted to the closest possible VFR airport.

When encountering an emergency there are things you don't want to do. You don't want to panic to get the aircraft down if the aircraft is perfectly flyable. You don't want to make major configuration changes, especially multiple ones, quickly. Pilots are taught to "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" in that order. As a pilot you should prioritize flying the plane, work the problem, and determine the safest place to put down.

It is possible in this case that they could have continued IFR, but if they encountered icing below the missed approach point they would have been put in a situation with icing and no visual references.

It is also possible that the pilots recognized that some electrical problem was at fault, and even without icing conditions they would want to remain VFR because they didn't trust the electrical system would continue to function throughout the IFR approach and landing.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would wager the specific decision process behind this choice is more fully described in the NTSB's Investigation Docket for the incident. Sadly as it's an older investigation that's not available online, but it can be requested (information on that process is available at the end of the report). $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 18:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .