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N6628U accident description

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Tail numberN6628U
Accident dateMay 29, 2009
Aircraft typeMooney M20D
LocationClintwood, VA
Near 37.260278 N, -82.373056 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 29, 2009, about 1800 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20D, N6628U, collided with mountainous terrain near Clintwood, Virginia. The private pilot was killed, and the airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces. The flight was operated as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Elizabethton Municipal Airport, Elizabethton, Tennessee, the same day, at 1500.

According to a witness, the airplane flew in a northerly direction towards a mountain ridge (Pine Mountain). He said at that time there was a lot of fog at the top of the Mountain. He said that he soon lost sight of the airplane, but could still hear the engine running. He continued by saying that he heard the engine make a sputtering noise, and then heard a loud crash. At that point, he drove his car around the base of the mountain to see if there was any smoke. When he did not see any smoke, he thought that “everything was fine.” He said that the following day he heard a report that a small airplane was missing. He contacted the local authorities and assisted them by directing them to the location where the missing airplane had crashed.

The pilot, age 57, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His certificate was updated on May 10, 2007. The pilot's last medical examination was on August 28, 2007, for a third-class medical certificate with limitations for lenses for distance. The pilot reported 900 flight hours on his last medical application. His logbook was not available for review, and a determination of his total flight hours has not been verified.

The two seat, low-wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number (S/N) 123, was manufactured in 1963. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360, 180hp engine and equipped with Hartzell 3-bladed propeller. There were no aircraft logbooks available for review.

The Lonesome Pine Airport 1755 weather observation reported: winds 310 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 miles, ceiling 1,600 feet scattered, 2,800 feet broken, overcast 1,000, temperature 18 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 16 degrees C, and altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was located at the top of a mountain ridge in a heavily wooded area. Examination of the crash site revealed that the wreckage path was through the tree tops that measured 200-feet. The airplane came to rest on the side of the ridge at approximately 2,600 feet Mean Sea Level. The wreckage debris line was consistent with the airplane’s heading of 003 degrees magnetic. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

The nose section of the airplane was crushed aft to the firewall. The engine assembly remained attached to the engine mounts. The propeller assembly was separated from the propeller flange. Both-propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub. The nose gear was in the retracted position and attached to the airframe.

The cockpit area was destroyed by post crash fire. Sections of the instrument panel, instruments and cockpit controls were destroyed. The airplane’s flight controls were actuated by push-pull tubes which were extensively damaged during the impact. The empennage was partially separated from the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly remained attached to the empennage. The right and left horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the empennage. The right elevator was separated from the stabilizer, and left elevator remained attached.

The right wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root. The wing exhibited accordion crushing along the leading edge and the aileron remained attached to the wing. The right main fuel tank was ruptured. The flap remained attached to the wing assembly. The right main landing gear was separated from the wing.

The left wing remained attached to the airframe, and was accordion crushed along the leading edge of the wing. The aileron and the wingtip was crushed and separated from the wing. The left fuel tank was ruptured. The flap remained attached to the wing assembly. The left main gear was in the extended position.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the damage to the blades was consistent with impact forces. Both propeller blades exhibited bending, and chord-wise scarring.

Examination of the engine revealed it was heavily fire damaged by post crash fire, and partially embedded in the ground. The spark plugs on the right side of the engine were removed, and the electrodes were intact. The spark plugs were light gray in color. The accessory section and accessories were fire damaged.

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