Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N1046L accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 45.208611°N, 84.960556°W
Nearest city Boyne City, MI
45.216675°N, 85.013942°W
2.7 miles away
Tail number N1046L
Accident date 06 Jan 2014
Aircraft type Mooney M20R
Additional details: None
Advertisement

NTSB Factual Report

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 6, 2014, at 0706 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20R airplane, N1046L, collided with trees and terrain about 1 mile east of the Boyne City Municipal Airport (N98), Boyne City, Michigan. The instrument rated private pilot and the passenger on board were both fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged from impact with the terrain and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to Chair Covers Leasing, Inc., and operated by the private pilot as a personal flight under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with a destination of the Oakland/Troy Airport (VLL), Troy, Michigan.

The pilot flew the airplane from VLL to N98 on January 3, 2014. Upon his arrival at N98, the pilot parked the airplane in his hangar and did not receive any fuel services. According to a family member, the pilot and passenger were going to return to VLL on January 5, 2014, but delayed the flight until the next day due to the weather conditions. The pilot frequently flew the airplane between VLL and N98.

At 0614, the pilot used a commercial computerized flight planning service to obtain weather data and file an IFR flight plan. The flight plan included a proposed departure time of 0715. The route of flight was direct to the Grayling (CGG), Michigan very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) then direct to VLL. The pilot requested an en route altitude of 5,000 feet with an estimated time en route of 51 minutes. The pilot did not receive an IFR clearance.

There were several witnesses that either heard and/or saw the airplane prior to the accident. One witness reported hearing the airplane engine while the airplane was on the airport. She stated it sounded like the airplane took off to the east. Two witnesses who heard the airplane stated the engine sounded like it "choked up" and "tightened up." Other witnesses reported hearing normal, loud engine sounds. Some of the witnesses reported that it sounded as if the airplane was heading back toward the airport. Several witnesses stated it was snowing heavily and it was dark, so they were only able to see the lights on the airplane and not the airplane itself. One witness reported seeing the airplane descend at a 45 degree angle. Another witness stated that due to the snow he could only see the airplane's lights, but it appeared the airplane banked "hard", pitched up and down, and accelerated as it descended.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land airplane and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate on December 23, 2013. The medical certificate contained the limitation that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. At the time of the examination the pilot reported having 1,400 hours of flight time, 50 hours of which were flown in the previous 6 months.

The pilot's logbook(s) were not located during the investigation. The pilot completed an insurance application on August 13, 2013. He reported on the application that he had 1,572 total hours of flight time, 1,497 hours of flight time in airplanes with retractable landing gear, 1,272 hours of flight time in Mooney M20R airplanes, and 100 hours of flight time in the previous year.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 2001 Mooney model M20R airplane, serial number 29-0275. It was a low wing, single-engine airplane, with a retractable landing gear configuration. The airplane was powered by a 310-horsepower Continental IO-550-G6B reciprocating engine, serial number 684928. The airplane was issued a normal category airworthiness certificate on April 19, 2001. The pilot's company, Chair Covers Leasing, Inc., purchased the airplane on August 17, 2001.

The airframe, engine, and propeller logbooks were not located during the investigation. An airframe and powerplant mechanic who had worked on the airplane stated that he did not have any records and that it had been about a year since he had worked on the airplane. He stated that the last work he did on the airplane was probably an annual inspection.

The last known fuel records were obtained from N98 which showed the pilot purchased 63.5 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel on December 8, 2013.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The weather conditions recorded at the Charlevoix Municipal Airport (KCVX), Charlevoix, Michigan, located 16 miles northwest of the accident site were:

At 0655: wind from 340 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 27 knots, visibility 2.75 miles with light snow, sky condition 1,800 scattered, 2,500 feet broken, 2,900 feet overcast, temperature -12 degrees Celsius, dew point -16 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.75 inches of mercury.

At 0715: wind from 340 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 27 knots, visibility 1.25 miles with light snow, sky condition 1,400 feet broken, 2,300 feet broken, 2,900 feet overcast, temperature -12 degrees Celsius, dew point -16 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.75 inches of mercury.

The weather conditions recorded at the Gaylord Regional Airport (GLR), Gaylord, Michigan, located 19 miles southeast of the accident site were:

At 0653: wind from 330 degrees at 7 knots gusting to 16 knots, visibility 4 miles with light snow, sky condition 3,900 feet broken, 6,500 feet overcast, temperature -15 degrees Celsius, dew point -18 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.63 inches of mercury.

At 0714: wind from 330 degrees at 8 knots varying from 290 degrees to 010 degrees, visibility 1.75 miles with light snow, sky condition 3,400 feet overcast, temperature -15 degrees Celsius, dew point -18 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.63 inches of mercury.

The weather conditions recorded at the Harbor Springs Airport, (MGN), Harbor Springs, Michigan, located 15 miles north of the accident site were:

At 0654: wind from 320 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 15 knots varying between 290 degrees to 350 degrees, visibility 4 miles with light snow, sky condition 1,200 feet broken, 2,600 feet broken, 2,600 feet overcast, temperature -13 degrees Celsius, dew point -16 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury.

At 0715: wind from 300 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 15 knots varying from 290 degrees to 350 degrees, visibility 5 miles with haze, sky condition 1,500 feet scattered, 3,600 feet broken 5,000 feet overcast, temperature -13 degrees Celsius, dew point -17 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury.

Records indicate the pilot received a computerized weather briefing on the morning of the accident. The briefing included local observations, area forecasts and synopsis, notices to airmen, winds aloft, significant meteorological information (SIGMETS) and airmen's meteorological information (AIRMETS). The synopsis for upper Michigan called for overcast conditions at 3,000 feet with cloud tops at 12,000 feet, visibilities 3 to 5 miles with light snow showers and mist, and wind from the northwest gusting to 25 knots. An AIRMET issued for IFR conditions with ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibilities below 3 miles with precipitation, mist, and blowing snow.

A witness who heard the airplane while it was on the airport stated the wind velocity was 10 to 15 miles per hour and gusting. She stated it was dark and snowing at the time. She stated the blowing snow occasionally created white-out conditions. Several witnesses reported that it was snowing heavily at the time of the accident.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot did not receive an IFR clearance for the flight and there was no radio communication between the pilot and air traffic control. Local pilots reported that it was very difficult to contact air traffic control on the ground at N98 and that most pilots departing IFR from N98 pick up their clearances once airborne.

The airplane was below radar coverage for the area.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Extreme winter weather conditions delayed the investigative team's arrival until January 9, 2014. Prior to the team's arrival, the wreckage was moved by Boyne City and Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office personnel to a secured hangar at N98.

The accident site was 1.07 miles east of the departure end of runway 09 at N98. The wreckage was located at the edge of a heavily wooded area that was in a valley between two rolling hills. The wooded area contained trees that ranged between 50 and 80 feet in height. A path of broken trees on the down sloping terrain was visible leading up to the snow covered ground impact area. The heading from the initial tree strike to the ground impact was 300 degrees. Broken tree branches indicated a descent angle of about 45 degrees. The distance from the initial tree impact to the main ground impact was about 200 feet.

The Charlevoix County Sheriff's Department reported the fuselage came to rest up against a tree that was near the initial ground impact. The engine was located about 100 feet northwest of the initial ground impact and the propeller was about 50 feet northwest of the engine. The right wing was located between the engine and the propeller. Portions of the wreckage were subjected to a postimpact fire.

The cockpit area including the instrument panel was destroyed by impact and fire damage. The center section of the fuselage below the floor remained attached to the inboard section of the right wing. The cockpit area above the floor was destroyed by impact and fire. All of the structural and flight control tubing sustained impact and fire damage. The aft fuselage was separated from the cockpit area. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The elevators remained attached to the horizontal stabilizers. The entire empennage sustained impact damage. The position of the landing gear jackscrew indicated the landing gear was in a transit position.

The right wing was separated from the airframe. Both the inboard and wingtip section of the wing were separated from the center portion of the wing. The inboard section of the wing, including the landing gear, remained attached to the lower portion of the fuselage. The inboard section of the wing sustained fire damage. The leading edge of the center section of the wing was crushed. The leading edge of the wing just outboard of the inboard portion of the aileron contained concave impact damage indicative of a tree strike. The aileron was attached to the wing. The flap was bent and separated from the wing. The fuel cap remained in place.

The left wing separated in numerous pieces. The flap separated from the wing in two pieces. The outboard section of the aileron remained attached to the wing. The inboard section of the aileron was crushed and separated from the wing. The leading edge of the wing, outboard of the fuel filler cap, sustained concave impact damage indicative of a tree strike. The fuel cap remained in place. The left landing gear was separated from the wing.

Flight control continuity to the wings could not be established due to the amount of impact damage and separation of the control push/pull tubes. Control continuity was established from the aft fuselage to the rudder and elevator control surfaces.

The propeller was separated from the engine. The propeller spinner was crushed around the propeller hub. All of the blades contained varying degrees of chordwise scratching and polishing. One blade was twisted and bent rearward. The tip of the blade was curled aft. Impact damage was visible on the trailing edge of the blade with a chunk of the blade missing. The outboard third of the second blade was curled aft about 270 degrees. The third blade was relatively straight with leading edge damage on the outboard section of the blade.

The engine was separated from the airframe. The engine sustained impact damage with the No. 6 cylinder pushed into the No. 4 cylinder. The piston pin on the No. 1 cylinder piston could not be removed and the pin would not clear the crankcase which prevented the crankshaft from being manually rotated. Cylinders Nos. 1, 3, and 5 were removed from the engine for examination. The intake and exhaust valves were intact. No anomalies were noted with the cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, and bearing saddles. The magnetos, engine driven fuel pump, vacuum pump, spark plugs, fuel injection servo, oil pump, induction system, and fuel manifold were examined. The examination of the engine and engine components did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on the pilot and passenger at Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 7, 2014. The cause of death for both the pilot and passenger was attributed to multiple blunt injuries.

Toxicology testing was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Testing results were negative for all substances in the screening profile.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane as he attempted to return to the airport after encountering dark night conditions and heavy snow showers. 

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