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N9381M accident description

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Tail numberN9381M
Accident dateMarch 04, 1999
Aircraft typeMooney M20F
LocationCabool, MO
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 4, 1999, at 1415 central standard time (cst), a Mooney M20F, N9381M, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the ground following a loss of control in turning flight. The pilot said he was turning the airplane from the traffic pattern base leg to final approach when the loss of control occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured. A second passenger was fatally injured. The flight had departed from Gulfport, Mississippi.

The pilot said, "...I believe I flew at [an] altitude of 4,500 [feet above mean sea level] (not sure). About 4-4 1/2 hours into [the] flight I found a fuel stop on my Garmin 195 GPS and headed to Cabool. Fuel [tank] gages showed over 1/4 fuel in each tank. On turning from base to final I could not turn [the airplane] upright. The stall warning siren didn't go off."

Witnesses reported observing the airplane about 200-feet above the ground when it began a turn to the left. The witnesses said the airplane rolled from its left bank to a steep right bank and descended toward the ground. The airplane's right wing, followed by its nose and left wing collided with the ground before it came to rest on a road embankment. The accident site was about 1/2-mile north of the Cabool Municipal Airport, Cabool, Missouri.


The pilot obtained his private pilot certificate on December 1, 1998. According to his logbook, the pilot's flight training began on October 28, 1970. The logbook showed he had accumulated 74.1 hours when he passed the checkride for the private pilot certificate.

The logbook showed the pilot had not flown an airplane like the Mooney M20F until he began flying N9381M on December 13, 1998. A page found in the back of the logbook showed that a flight instructor endorsed the pilot to act as pilot-in-command of a high performance airplanes. There was no date associated with this endorsement. No logbook entry showing the flight session associated with this endorsement was not found. The logbook showed the pilot's high performance airplane flight instruction had stopped on December 16, 1998. The logbook showed the pilot flew the airplane 27.4 hours as pilot-in-command between this date and December 29, 1998.

On December 29, 1998, the logbook showed the pilot received 1.6 hours of flight instruction in the accident airplane. The logbook entry stated, "Slow flight, straight [and] level 360 [degree] turns, A/S, [airspeed], changes, climbs, [and] descents." This flight time was logged as 1.6 hours of "Simulated Instrument" and 1.9 hours "Total Duration of Flight." The logbook showed a flight instruction session on February 18, 1999, that said, "Power on/off stalls, steep turns VOR track[ing], unusual attitudes, holds, [and] ILS 9R FCM." This flying session was 3.5 hours in length. Two hours of this flight are shown to have been flown under "Simulated Instruments." These two instructional sessions were the only records that show the pilot performing any type of stalls in the airplane.


N9381M's wreckage was located on U.S. highway 63's east right of way about 100 yards north of Cabool Memorial Airport's runway 21 approach threshold. N9381M's wreckage heading was 135 degress magnetic. The wreckage trail was about 120 feet long and on a magnetic heading of 265 degrees.

The first ground scar was about six feet long, about 12 inches wide and three inches deep. A round, bulb-like piece of green colored glass was located about midway along this scar. The next ground scar was about five feet long and six inches wide and about one inch deep. The third ground scar was about 15 feet long and about 14 inches at its beginning. The scar tapered to about three inches wide near its west end. The scar was about three inches deep throughout its length.

About five feet west of the third scar's west end, an oval shaped ground scar began. This scar measured about seven feet long, six feet wide and 10 inches deep. Small pieces of white colored plastic-like materials and green tinted clear plastic were found in this scar. There were three cuts in the ground that were next to the forth ground scar's east end and perpendicular to its east-west orientation. These cuts were spaced 20 inches from each other. The first cut was about 20 inches east of the oval shaped scar. The second and third cuts were at the start of the oval scar and about 20 inches west of its beginning. About 1/4 of the right wing's outboard section was found about 20 feet west of the fourth ground scar's west edge. N9381M's wreckage was about 62 feet west of the outboard section of the right wing.

N9381M was positioned next to the opening of a storm drain culvert. The airplane's right aileron and right cabin door were found on the bottom of the culvert. N9381M's fuselage, forward of the instrument panel, was destroyed and was not part of the main wreckage. The engine remained attached to the airframe. The empennage assembly had separated from the fuselage tailcone aft super structure and was laying over the left side of the rear fuselage. The right elevator had separated from the outboard and center stabilizer hinge attachments. It was bent aft about 15 degrees from the center fuselage control horn assembly.

The left wing's outboard tip was crushed aft about 45 degrees. The start of the crush began about 1/3 span inboard from the wing tip. This wing section was bent up about 20 degrees. About 1/4 of the right wing's outboard section had separated from the structure. The outboard end of the remaining wing was crushed aft about 45 degrees. The right wing was bent aft about 20 degrees starting about five feet outward from the wing root.

Examination of the flight control system and engine revealed no anomalies that would prevent flight. The wing flaps were in the retracted position. The left main landing gear was partially extended. The right main and nose landing gear were extended. One propeller blade was not bent. It had a gouge in its leading edge about six inches inboard of the tip. The gouge was about one inch long and 1/2 inch deep. The second propeller blade was 90 degrees along its lateral axis beginning at the blade's foot. The leading edge of this blade had numerous gouges that varied between 1/8 to about 3/8 inches in length and about 1/4 inch deep. Chordwise scoring was found on the propeller's face and opposite surface. The third propeller blade was bent forward about 10 degrees starting about 12 inches outward from the propeller hub.

Both wing fuel tanks were ruptured. About two teaspoons of a blue colored liquid that smelled similar to 100 LL AVGAS was found in the fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump. About the same amount of the same colored and fragerence liquid was found in the fuel servo and fuel line from the servo to the fuel injection distribution block. No fuel or debris was observed in the fuel distribution block.

The seals and diaphrams of the distribution block were not dried or cracked. The fuel mixture control arm was in the idle-cutoff position at the fuel servo. The throttle valve at the fuel servo was found in the "Full Open" position. Throttle control rod to the servo had separated from its servo mount.

Thumb compression was found on all four cylinders of N9381M's engine. Both magnetos produced spark at end of each sparkplug lead when hand rotated. The fuel tank selector valve functioned in each of the three positions: "Left Tank," "Right Tank," and "Off" when air was blown into the intake fuel line. The electric fuel boost pump pumped water during its test.

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