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N200DP accident description

Delaware map... Delaware list
Crash location 38.687777°N, 75.358333°W
Nearest city Georgetown, DE
38.690113°N, 75.385473°W
1.5 miles away
Tail number N200DP
Accident date 18 May 2014
Aircraft type Mooney Aircraft CORP. M20K
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 18, 2014, at 0959 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20K, N200DP, was substantially damaged when it collided with power lines and terrain following a total loss of engine power while on approach to Sussex County Airport (GED), Georgetown, Delaware. The airline transport pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Woodbine Municipal Airport (OBI), Woodbine, New Jersey, about 0935. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that his was one airplane in a flight of four from OBI to GED, where they planned to purchase fuel and have brunch. He estimated the 40-mile flight would consume approximately 6 gallons of fuel and he estimated there were "15 to 20 gallons" on board at departure. The en route portion of the flight was flown at 4,500 feet and the pilot entered the airport traffic pattern for landing on runway 04. The downwind leg was extended due to traffic, and while on downwind, the pilot switched from the left fuel tank to the right fuel tank, lowered the landing gear, moved the propeller lever to "full," completed "landing checks," and turned to the base leg of the traffic pattern.

According to the pilot, as he turned from the base leg to the final leg of the traffic pattern, he attempted to increase engine power, but "there was nothing there" and the engine would not advance past 1,000 rpm. He again attempted to increase power with no response from the engine, and switched the fuel selector back to the left fuel tank. The pilot believed he "had the field made," but the airplane impacted power lines, and came to rest near the airport boundary


The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine, and a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on April 30, 2011. He reported 5,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 400 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.


According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979. On August 31, 1995, a 305-horsepower Teledyne Continental TSIO-520-NB engine modified under Supplemental Type Certificate (STC SE022SE) by Rocket Engineering Corporation was installed.

Its most recent annual inspection was completed June 10, 2013, and the airplane had accrued 91 hours since that date. He estimated the airplane had accrued 3,000 total aircraft hours.

According to Rocket Engineering Corporation, the fuel consumption rate during a maximum-power climb was up to 33 gallons per hour. The fuel consumption rate between an economy-cruise setting and maximum-cruise setting was 15 to 25 gallons per hour.

According to the Mooney M20K Pilot Operating Handbook, the fuel capacity of the airplane was 78.6 gallons, of which 75.6 gallons were usable.


At 0954, the weather conditions reported at GED included a broken ceiling at 7,500 feet, visibility 10 miles, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.22 inches of mercury. The wind was from 010 degrees at 6 knots.


The wreckage was recovered from the accident site and moved onto GED airport property, where it was secured for examination at a later date. During recovery, a total of approximately 7 gallons of fuel was recovered, but the exact amounts recovered from each wing tank could not be determined. Examination of photographs revealed substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage.

All three propeller blades were damaged, with one blade cut and scored deeply near its root.


The pilot reported that he downloaded the data from the airplane's engine monitor, and stated, "…60 seconds before the propeller stopped, there was no fuel flow…" He added that he probably should have purchased fuel before his departure from OBI, and that if he had it to do over, he would.

On June 25, 2014, the airplane was secured to a flatbed trailer in Georgetown, Delaware. A slave propeller was installed in place of the damaged propeller and the airplane was serviced with 10 gallons of aviation fuel; 5 gallons in each wing tank. An external battery was connected at the external power plug, and an engine start was attempted.

The engine started immediately, and was allowed to warm up at 1,000 rpm. The engine was accelerated to 1,500 rpm, and a magneto check was performed with satisfactory results. The engine was then accelerated smoothly to 2,400 rpm, where it ran without interruption until stopped by the engine controls in the cockpit.

During the engine run, the fuel selector was switched four times between the left and right tanks, and the engine ran continuously and without interruption each time.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s improper preflight planning and in-flight fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power. Also causal to the accident was the pilot’s failure to see and avoid the wires on the airport boundary.

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