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N17RA accident description

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Crash location 39.224723°N, 104.640000°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 Elbert, CO
39.219434°N, 104.537192°W
5.5 miles away

Tail number N17RA
Accident date 04 Jul 2008
Aircraft type Mooney M20M
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On July 4, 2008, about 1148 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Mooney M-20M airplane, N17RA impacted terrain while attempting a go around at Kelly Airpark (CO15), seven miles west of Elbert, Colorado. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated at Centennial Airport (APA), Englewood, Colorado and was terminating at the time of the accident.

The pilot and passenger departed the accident location earlier in the morning for Centennial Airport, CO (KAPA) to fuel the airplane. The pilot purchased 71 gallons of fuel and departed KAPA for Las Vegas, NV, but returned to CO15 one hour after takeoff due to turbulence. During the fist visual approach the pilot initiated a go around when another plane flew in front of him while on final approach. During the second approach the airplane nose dropped, striking the nose gear on the runway and bouncing on touchdown. The pilot stated he applied power for a go around, began a positive rate of climb and retracted the flaps to the first setting per the Pilot Operating Handbook procedures. He saw that he was sinking and pushed the throttle to the fire wall. He said the engine did not respond properly and the airplane settled back to the ground, striking the tail and landing left of the departure end of the runway. The airplane traveled several hundred feet before stopping on its belly. The pilot estimated the airplane gross weight at 2,980 pounds at the time of the accident.

One witness stated they "saw the Mooney headed north at slow speed, nose high attitude. [The pilot] added power and it mushed down." A second witness said, "when I saw the nose attitude of the aircraft (very nose high) with gear extended I knew they were in trouble." A third witness who saw the initial takeoff in the morning said it was not a great performing takeoff and the airplane did not sound as strong as the other two 300 hp airplanes on the airfield. He also witnessed a portion of the final go around and said the airplane "seemed a little slow and steep on the go around."

Examination of the airplane revealed bending of two fuselage bulkhead structures on the underside of the tail. Additionally, the forward section of the left horizontal stabilizer was bent upwards.


The 59 year old pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical was issued on June 13, 2007, with the limitation of "Holder shall possess glasses that correct for near vision."

The pilot indicated on the NTSB Form 6120.1 he had a total flight time of 274 hours; of which 39 hours were in this make and model of airplane. He logged 15 hours in the last 90 days and 11 in the last 30 days. His last noted flight review was completed February 21, 2008.


The 1999-model Mooney M-20M, N17RA, serial number 27-0282, was a low wing, semi-monocoque airplane, with a retractable landing gear, and was configured for four occupants. The airplane was powered by a direct drive, horizontally opposed, fuel injected, air-cooled, turbo-charged, six-cylinder engine. The engine was a Lycoming TIO-540-AF1A, serial number L-10324-61A rated at 310 horsepower, and was driving a three-bladed controllable pitch McCauley propeller.

According to the airframe logbook, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 16, 2008, with an airframe total time of 1013.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated approximately 1076 hours and 62 hours since the last inspection.

The engine logbook revealed that the engine had been inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on November 16, 2008, with an engine total time of 1013.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated approximately 1076 hours and 62 hours since the last inspection.


At 1153, the weather observation facility at Monument Hill, Colorado (KMNH) reported, wind from 050 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 4,000 feet, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure of 30.26 inches of Mercury. Density altitude was 9,674 feet.


The wreckage was located approximately 700 feet northwest of the north end of runway 35. The airplane was intact, with the exception of both main landing wheels which separated from the airplane and traveled several hundred feet north of the wreckage. The nose gear was collapsed and the airplane was resting on its belly. The left horizontal stabilizer was bent upwards approximately six inches from the outboard edge and a bulkhead located just below the forward edge of the horizontal stabilizer was bent. The left and right main landing gear were broken off, the nose gear was folded under, and the three propeller blades showed chord-wise scratches, leading edge gouging, and bending.

The initial impact point was located 99 feet west of the runway on the last taxiway on the north end of the runway. The impact point was represented by tire marks from both main tires and an approximately two foot long by two inch wide gouge in the taxiway located 11 feet aft (south) of the tire imprints and midway between the two tires. The tire tracks continued northwest then north, crossing the parallel taxiway two times. The tire marks ended 78 feet prior to the wreckage and a swath the approximate size of the airplane belly continued in the dirt to where the airplane came to rest.

The fuel selector was found in the both position and fuel was visible through the filler caps on each wing. The left wing had less fuel than the right wing. Examination of the underside of the airplane revealed a small fuel leak from within the left main wheel well. The fuel filter screen was examined and no contaminates were noted. The turbo charger was examined and found to turn freely.


The airplane was transported from the accident location to the owner's hanger on the airfield three days after the accident. Prior to being transported, investigators replaced the damaged propeller and performed a partial-power engine run with the aircraft strapped down to a flatbed trailer. The engine was started with the fuel selector in the both position and the engine was run to approximately one-half power. Safety concerns prevented a full power engine run. No anomalies were noted with the engine at that time.

The engine was removed from the airplane by representatives of the owner's insurance company and taken to Western Skyways, Inc. to have a prop-strike inspection completed on the engine. The engine was disassembled and inspected, to include the engine accessories. During the course of that inspection there were no anomalies found that would have caused a sudden loss of power.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.