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N2764W accident description

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Crash location 33.330278°N, 83.749722°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 Monticello, GA
33.304848°N, 83.683229°W
4.2 miles away

Tail number N2764W
Accident date 13 Sep 2003
Aircraft type Mooney M-20C
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 13, 2003 at 0928 eastern daylight time a Mooney M-20C, N2764W, registered to and operated by the private pilot collided with trees while searching for a private grass landing strip in Monticello, Georgia. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated from Lawrenceville, Georgia, at an undetermined time.

According to a witness who was jogging in the area, the visibility was very poor due to fog. He said he could hear, but barely see the airplane flying above him at a low altitude. After passing overhead the airplane headed toward a wooded hill and he heard the airplane crash into the wooded area. He stated that he ran to a nearby neighbor's house and telephoned the 911 operator. Another witness in the local area stated that he had been waiting for the pilot to meet him at his private grass airstrip about a quarter mile from were the accident occurred.


The private pilot held a rating in single engine land airplane. The pilot's third class medical certificate was issued on May 23, 2002, with restrictions that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on his medical certificate application that his total civilian flight hours were 480. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination.


The Mooney M20C, S/N 20-3354, was a four seat, single engine, low wing, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane. No aircraft logbooks were located during the course of the investigation.


Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Weather conditions at Macon Middle Georgia Regional Airport at 0853, were sky condition overcast at 100 feet, in fog, visibility 3 statute miles, calm, temperature 22-degrees Celsius, dew point 21-degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.13 inches of mercury.


Examination of the accident site found several large diameter trees damaged and/or broken along the crash debris line of the airplane to where the cabin area and fuselage rested wedged between two trees on a magnetic heading of 220 degrees. The debris line was 120 feet in length and the terrain in that location rose rapidly to about 900 feet MSL.

Numerous pieces of the fuselage and wing skin were located along the crash debris line. The engine, and a portion of the cockpit area at the instrument panel were observed forward of the cabin area resting against a tree. Examination of the cockpit area found it was inverted and the instruments and flight controls were damaged. The nose gear was in the down position and remained attached to the airframe. The main landing gears remained attached to their respective wings however the wings separated from the airframe.

The left wing was separated at the wing root and was found about 30 feet from the initial point of impact and was located left of the crash debris line. The left main fuel tank was ruptured and browning of vegetation was present. The left aileron flight control cable was ripped through the upper leading edge of the left wing and remained attached by a cable strand of wire. The wing flaps were in the retracted position. A section of the left elevator, not including the counterweight, and the outboard segment of the left horizontal stabilizer were also located to the left of the crash debris line. Tree bark was noted inboard of the horizontal stabilizer tip. A large tree trunk was observed with a 45 degree cut similar to that of a propeller strike near the initial point of impact.

The right wing tip was separated from the right wing and was located to the right of the initial point of impact. The right outboard wing including two ribs and four feet of the right wing trailing edge, and right aileron were located to the right of the crash debris line near the initial point of impact. A semi-circular mark was located on the leading edge of the right wing inboard from the wing tip. Accordion crushing was present on the leading edge. The right main fuel tank was ruptured and there was no fuel present. Browning of vegetation was present in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The right flap and flap actuator were in the retracted position.

Examination of the engine found that the engine and propeller remained attached to the airframe and were compressed against the airframe firewall. Deformation was noted on the tubular mounts and engine control cables. Examination of the engine included a partial disassembly. The propeller, propeller governor, oil screens, valve covers, spark plugs, carburetor, fuel pump, and magnetos were removed. A borescope was used to inspect the cylinder top end components. No pre-impact anomalies were revealed. A drive tool adapter was inserted at the propeller governor accessory drive to rotate the engine. The engine was rotated and continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drives was established. Each cylinder produced compression while the engine was rotated. The controls at the engine were found with the throttle full open, mixture control full rich and the carburetor heat on. The carburetor and fuel pump remained intact on the engine. Residual amounts of fuel were found within the engine fuel system and components forward of the firewall. The fuel inlet screen was found clean, and the fuel pump displayed no pre-impact anomalies. Both magnetos were found intact and secure on the engine case and were removed for examination. The drive gears were found intact. Both magnetos produced an ignition spark from all towers when rotated.

The propeller spinner had folds in the aluminum. The propeller blades had cordwise scoring marks, and the internal pitch change mechanism was broken. The propeller governor control was found in the high rpm position, the unit was removed and the gasket screen was clean. The drive coupling was intact and rotated. Pumping action of oil was noted while the governor was rotated.

The post-accident examination of the airframe, and flight controls revealed no evidence of a mechanical failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site.


The Jasper County Coroners Office in Monticello, Georgia, conducted a post mortem examination of the pilot. The reported cause of death was listed as "traumatic injuries due to plane crash." On October 30, 2003 the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted a Toxicology examination of the pilot. The examination revealed that no Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide or drugs were detected in the blood, and no ethanol was detected in the vitreous.


The wreckage was released to Atlanta Air Recovery Griffin, Georgia, on November 13, 2003.

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