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N700CF accident description

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Tail numberN700CF
Accident dateJuly 19, 1995
Aircraft typeMooney M20J
LocationCrawford, CO
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 19, 1995, at 1340 mountain daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N700CF, impacted the ground next to the runway during landing at Crawford, Colorado. The pilot received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for this personal flight which originated from Murrieta, California, at 0800 Pacific daylight time with an intended destination of Port Huron, Michigan.

According to marked charts found in the aircraft, which were confirmed by the pilot's widow, the intended route of flight through the Rocky Mountain area was across the northern part of New Mexico, approximately 130 miles south of the accident site. No information was developed during the course of the investigation to indicate why the pilot was in the vicinity of Crawford, what his route of flight from takeoff had been, or if he made any stops. He had been en route for approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes at the time the accident occurred.

Witnesses located at the Crawford Airport (see attached statements) provided information that the aircraft circled the airport in an erratic fashion prior to the accident and may have attempted to communicate with Crawford UNICOM.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Book four of four was the only pilot log book recovered. That book starts on October 31, 1990, and entries indicate the pilot received his private pilot certificate on February 20, 1958, with a rating in airplane, single-engine, land. He received his multiengine rating September 21, 1982, and a rating in gliders on August 8, 1963. He did not hold an instrument rating.

A letter to the pilot from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dated March 3, 1994, was found in the aircraft. The letter is attached and indicates a review of the pilot's medical records was conducted due to Parkinson's disease. The letter established that the pilot was eligible for a third class medical certificate and cautioned the pilot concerning being prohibited from operating an aircraft any time new symptoms or adverse changes occurred as a result of the disease. The pilot's medical certificate was also recovered and was issued on February 4, 1994, with the restriction that the pilot wear glasses for near and distant vision. His previous medical certificate dated November 19, 1991, was also recovered and contained a similar restriction.

According to other recovered records, the pilot purchased the aircraft new on July 5, 1994. The last entry in the aircraft log provided information dated November 29, 1994, that as of the entry the aircraft had accumulated 71.3. According to the pilot's widow, he was the only person who flew the aircraft and she believed he flew more hours than the log indicated, but additional time could not be verified. The pilot's log documents only 2.0 hours in the aircraft which was a biennial flight review dated July 28, 1994.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft log provided information that the production test flight was conducted on June 28, 1994, and a certificate of airworthiness was issued on July 13, 1994. Log entry provided information that the first annual inspection was due on July 13, 1995. The log did not provide any entries that the annual had been conducted.

A review of the Mooney M20J Pilot's Operating Handbook provided information that in cruise flight between 8,000 and 10,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), (the assumed cruise altitude range to provide adequate terrain clearance between the departure point and the accident site) endurance between 5 hours and 9 hours could be expected depending on how the pilot operated the engine.

A review of the aircraft flight operating group controls provided documentation that the aircraft was equipped with an auto pilot system which provided full axis control manually and via the IFR avionics package. A dual flight director system was installed and the aircraft was not equipped with auto throttle.

AERODROME INFORMATION

Crawford Airport is a VFR private residential airport open to the public. It is located two miles west of the city of Crawford at N38:42.25/W107:38.62. Airport elevation is 6,470 feet msl. Runways consist of 10/28 - 1,780 by 40 feet turf and 7/25 - 5,100 by 50 feet gravel. Runway edge lights and threshold lights are on request. According to the airport manager, 100LL aviation fuel is available but is kept primarily for the residents.

According to the pilot's widow, the pilot would not have normally gone to an airport with a gravel or turf runway due to the possibility of damaging his aircraft paint. There are several public hard surface airports which advertise fuel sales within 30 miles of Crawford and would have been along the expected flight path if arriving in the area from the west.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The Mooney M20J measures 24 feet 8 inches in length, 8 feet 4 inches in height (maximum) and has a wing span of 35 feet.

Witnesses stated the aircraft struck the ground in a left wing nose down attitude, cartwheeled, and came to rest inverted.

Witness marks provided evidence that the first point of impact was at the runway edge on the north side of the gravel runway at about mid field. A gouge was found at the runway edge which contained a portion of the left wing tip and red position light. Extending to the northwest from the gouge was a scrape 17 feet 8 inches in length which ended in a crater approximately a foot deep. A portion of the propeller spinner was found buried in the crater and the edge of the crater contained a smooth cut mark on the upper end of the crater.

At a point 48 feet from the crater a gouge was found which contained the right wing tip. The aircraft came to rest 24 feet beyond the gouge inverted pointing to the northeast. The engine was not attached. The airframe remained intact. Both wing tips were crushed inboard and the outer portion of both wings were compressed aft. The top of the cabin was crushed inward forward of the rear windows and the seats remained attached. The flaps were up and the landing gear was down.

The empennage was bent downward aft of the cabin area. Both horizontal stabilizers were bent up and crushed aft. The elevators remained attached and elevator trim was faired. The vertical stabilizer was crushed at the tip and the rudder remained attached. Control continuity was established throughout the aircraft.

The engine, minus the propeller, was located 54 feet northwest of the main wreckage. Examination of the engine provided no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction.

The propeller was found 28 feet northeast of the main wreckage. Blade number one was bent forward and contained chordwise scarring eight inches inboard from the tip. A piece of the blade 1 inch wide and 1 and 1/2 inches long was missing from the leading edge at the point the scarring began. The missing portion was not recovered. Blade number two was bent aft and contained chordwise scarring from the tip inboard for approximately 3 inches. This blade was twisted with the leading edge aft from the root along the entire span. Both blades were loose in the hub and examination provided evidence that the pitch change links were fractured in overload.

At the time of this investigator's arrival at the accident scene, fuel was leaking from both tanks which are located in the leading edge of the wings. Examination provided evidence that both tanks contained in excess of seven gallons of fuel. The cabin fuel selector was on the right main tank.

At the time the aircraft was examined, the throttle was approximately 1/2 inch from full open, the propeller control was set at full increase, and the mixture was full rich. The magnetos were on both. The electrical master and battery were off and witnesses stated they were turned off by persons responding to the accident scene. In addition, the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) had activated and was turned off by these same persons.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to the pilot's FAA medical file, the pilot suffered from Parkinson's disease and was on medication for treatment of that malady. The attached toxicological report specifies those medications. The disease and medications were not considered disqualifying by the FAA.

An autopsy was performed by Dr. Michael Benziger at Montrose, Colorado, by order of Mr. Eric Wolverton, Deputy Coroner, Delta County, Colorado. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries suffered in the aircraft accident.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A consult was requested by this investigator and was performed by Dr. Charles DeJohn, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dr. DeJohn's report is attached and documents specifics of the autopsy findings, the presence of Parkinson's disease, and other information developed during the investigation. Also attached are documents collected during the aeromedical part of this investigation which provide evidence that the pilot had several medical conditions which were not part of his FAA medical file and, according to Dr. DeJohn, could have caused incapacitation.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to D. K. Jason and Associates on August 1, 1995. No parts were retained.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.