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N2165Y accident description

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Crash location 41.337777°N, 70.639166°W
Nearest city Vineyard Haven, MA
41.454279°N, 70.603639°W
8.3 miles away
Tail number N2165Y
Accident date 12 Nov 2002
Aircraft type Mooney M20R
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 12, 2002, about 1953 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20R, N2165Y, was destroyed when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, about 5 miles south of the Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD), Providence, Rhode Island. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot purchased the airplane in April 2002, and based it at MVY.

According to a representative of the pilot's family, the pilot was returning from a trip to Florida to visit friends. The day before the accident, the pilot flew to Savannah, Georgia, and on the day of the accident, the pilot flew to PVD. While at PVD, the airplane was refueled with 50 gallons of aviation gasoline. The pilot contacted the Bridgeport Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to obtain a standard and updated weather briefing for the flight, and then departed for MVY, about 1925.

According to information received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was cleared for the VOR Runway 6 approach at 1947:39. Radar data revealed the airplane descended toward the airport, to an altitude of 200 feet, and then began a climbing right turn to an altitude of 700 feet, before radar contact was lost. The pilot did not report any problems to air traffic controllers.

A pilot reported he landed at MVY about 15 minutes prior to the accident, and utilized the VOR Runway 6 Approach. The pilot said he had no problems tracking the VOR, and "broke out" of the clouds at 700 feet, with 2 to 3 miles of visibility in moderate rain. He stated it was "windy, but down the runway." The pilot said he was taxing out for takeoff when he heard the accident pilot report he was "2 miles out." The accident pilot then asked if someone could confirm that the runway lights were on. The pilot on the ground told the accident pilot that only the runway end lights were illuminated. The accident pilot then activated the runway lights and the pilot on the ground confirmed they were illuminated. The accident pilot thanked him, and the pilot on the ground did not hear any further communication from the airplane. In addition, the pilot reported he felt the weather conditions he experienced while on approach were the same as the accident airplane, except that the rain had intensified.

Several small pieces of debris, which included portions of the airplane's interior and small pieces of sheet metal, were recovered during the days subsequent to the accident. On February 5, 2003, a portion of the cabin forward of the wing spar and aft of the engine washed up onto a beach area. As of June 1, 2003, the airplane's engine, wings, and empennage had not been recovered.

The airplane was manufactured in 1998, and had been operated for about 360 total hours. The airplane had been flown about 115 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed on April 12, 2002.

The pilot held a private pilot certificated for single engine land airplanes and an instrument rating. The pilot's most recent logbook was not located. He reported 425 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA third class medical certificate, which was dated December 3, 2001. On his application for an instrument rating dated March 8, 2001, the pilot reported 325 hours of total flight experience, which included 80 hours of instrument flight time. The pilot's instrument rating was issued on March 12, 2001.

Review of a VOR Runway 6 approach plate revealed that the minimum decent altitude was 400 feet above the ground. In addition, the missed approach procedure included a climbing right turn to 2,500 feet.

A weather observation taken at MVY, at 1953, included: winds from 030 degrees at 15 knots; visibility 2 miles with heavy rain and mist; and a broken ceiling at 600 feet, with a broken cloud layer at 1,100 feet, and an overcast cloud layer at 1,800 feet.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's spatial disorientation during a missed approach, which resulted in a loss of control, and the airplane's subsequent impact with water. Factors included clouds, rain, and night lighting conditions.

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