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N1157P accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city New Hudson, MI
42.510867°N, 83.615495°W
Tail number N1157P
Accident date 10 Feb 2001
Aircraft type Mooney M20K
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On February 10, 2001, at 1655 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20K, N1157P, collided with frozen terrain during a forced landing in New Hudson, Michigan. The forced landing was a result of an in-flight loss of engine power. The pilot and his pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight originated from Portland, Tennessee, at 1445 eastern standard time, with an intended destination of Pontiac, Michigan.

The pilot reported he departed the Pontiac-Oakland County International Airport (PTK) at 1100 eastern standard time with full fuel tanks, en route to the Cincinnati Municipal-Lunken Airport (LUK), Cincinnati, Ohio. He reported the flight took 1 hour 10 minutes and he refueled with 27 gallons of fuel upon arrival at LUK. The pilot reported that the 27 gallons of fuel filled the tanks.

At 1330 eastern standard time, he departed LUK en route to the Portland Municipal Airport, Portland, Tennessee (1M5). The pilot reported this flight lasted 1 hour and he powered back to ecomony cruise flight which would have resulted in a fuel flow of 15 gallons per hour (gph).

At 1445 eastern standard time, the pilot departed 1M5 for the return flight to PTK. The pilot reported that he estimated having 80 gallons of fuel on board at the time of departure "…based upon visual inspection and my tank and dashboard gauges."

The pilot reported that when he was level at 4,500 feet, approximately 20 miles south of PTK, there was a change in engine sound. He reported, "The pitch varied for about 3 seconds and then my TIT went to the top. I immediately richened the mixture. The gas gauges showed 1/3 on each tank. I had been alternating the tanks to keep them even during flight. Another 5 seconds passed and then the plane lost all power. I immediately switched from the left to the right tank. I hit the boost pump and after 2 seconds I got a 2 second burst of power which could not be replicated despite numerous efforts to do so."

The pilot reported that he used his GPS and determined that the nearest airport was the New Hudson Airport. He reported that he contacted air traffic control, informed them of the power loss, and was given a heading of 300° to New Hudson. He reported, "The big continental was dragging me down so that I was not going to make the airport. I kept trying to restart the windmilling motor to no avail." The pilot located a frozen lake and elected to make a gear up landing on the lake. The airplane slid across the lake until it contacted the steep bank of the far shoreline where it came to rest.

The pilot reported that upon exiting the airplane he checked the left fuel tank and was unable to see any fuel. The passenger checked the right tank and reported, "…the fuel level in the tank was about 2 inches below the filler door, indicating ½ to ¾ tank remaining."

An officer from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office reported that after the accident he looked inside the left fuel tank and was able to see fuel. He reported that he did not know how much fuel was in the tank, but it was at least a couple inches below the filler hole. He was unable to check the right fuel tank because the right wing was over an area of broken ice.

Avantgarde Aviation, Waterford, Michigan, recovered the airplane from the frozen lake. A report provided by Avantgarde stated that the wing fuel gauges both read empty. When the electrical power was turned, on the right fuel gauge indicated just above empty and the left fuel gauge indicated between 8 and 18 gallons of fuel. The fuel selector was found positioned on the right fuel tank. The fuel line from the firewall to the engine driven fuel pump was disconnected and with the right fuel tank selected, the electric fuel pump was turned on. The report stated, "...a very small amount of fuel and air shot out followed by dribbles of fuel, about 1/4 gallon." The selector was then positioned to the left tank and between 6 and 6 1/2 gallons of fuel were pumped out of the airplane. Inspection of the airplane did not reveal any evidence of fuel stains.

The accident occurred at the Lyons Sand and Gravel Lake. An environmental engineer employed by the property owner inspected the accident site. Their report stated that there was no evidence that fluids (hydraulic or fuel) had been released on the property during the accident or removal of the airplane.

The airplane was equipped with the Rocket STC SA5691NM, for installation of the Continental TSIO-520-NB engine and a McCauley 3-blade propeller.

NTSB Probable Cause

Inadequate preflight planning/preparation which resulted in an adequate fuel supply for the flight and subsequently in fuel starvation. A factor associated with the accident was the steep bank which the airplane contacted during the forced landing.

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