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N8394E accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city White Bear, MN
45.102466°N, 93.027441°W
Tail number N8394E
Accident date 06 Jul 1997
Aircraft type Mooney M20A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On July 6, 1997, at 1845 central daylight time (cdt), a Mooney M20A, N8394E, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the surface of White Bear Lake, White Bear, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed Anoka, Minnesota, 1815 cdt.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) record of transcript and controller statements, N8394E departed north from the airport. About 4 minutes later the transcript showed a person in N8394E contacted the ATCT. That person stated they had an emergency. The controller asked the broadcaster to repeat the message and this was done. However, the speaker's voice was garbled and the emergency was not clearly stated.

The ATCT controller cleared the airplane to return to the airport and asked the pilot to report downwind. The controller observed the airplane fly toward the control tower and pass over it. The controller watched the airplane fly out of sight. The pilot of N8394E did not respond to any subsequent radio calls.

An eye witness said N8394E flew over his boat about 30 feet above the water. He said the landing gear was extended and that there was no "...sputtering or revving of the engine." He continued by saying the airplane's engine accelerated when it was about 10 feet above the water. He said the airplane entered "...a steep climb, banking to the right..." shortly after he heard the engine power increase. The witness said the "...nose of the plane was about a 45-degree angle." He said the airplane climbed to about 50 feet above the water and then "...dove into the water with the right wing and nose hitting the water at the same time."

A second witness said he saw N8394E flying over the lake when it "...turned about 280 degrees about 50 to 60 feet over the lake at stall speed and attempted to bank to the right upward." He said the airplane descended straight down into the lake.


According to FAA records, the pilot obtained her airplane, single-engine land private pilots' certificate on June 19, 1995. At that time she had a total flight time of 90 hours, 60 of which was dual instruction. According to the pilot's logbook, she began flying N8394E on June 7, 1996. The logbook showed she had completed the second phase of an FAA pilot proficiency award program on September 23, 1996. Her logbook showed she had not flown an aircraft between November 13, 1996, and April 12, 1997. During this time frame, the logbook showed 1.7 hours of simulator practice.

According to FAA's Aeromedical records dated July 18, 1996, the pilot was not eligible " hold an airman medical certificate... ." The FAA's reason for the ineligibility statement was the pilot's "...history of high blood pressure... which..." required medication. A July 29, 1996, letter from the pilot's doctor showed the pilot had stopped taking the medication. It outlined a 6-month blood pressure record for the pilot. On August 14, 1996, the FAA wrote the pilot stating, "Our review of your medical records has established that you are eligible for a third-class medical certificate." The letter advised the pilot, "Because of your history of high blood pressure, operation of aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication is required." Copies of the correspondence are appended to this report.


N8394E impacted the surface of White Bear Lake about 1/2-mile of Manitou Island. The airplane was retrieved by divers associated with the Hennepin and Ramsey County sheriff's offices. Parts of the airplane's right wing had washed up on the island's shore. During the initial dive to N8394E's resting place the diver noted that the airplane's fuselage was intact and that "...the landing gear on the remaining wing of the craft was down." The airplane was removed from the lake and placed into a secure hangar for inspection.

During the examination of the airframe flight control continuity was established for all three axis'. Examination of N8394E's engine revealed mechanical continuity throughout. Thumb compression was established at all 4 cylinders. The magnetos were hand rotated and spark was obtained at all leads. Fuel was observed in the fuel line between the engine driven pump and carburetor. One propeller blade was bent aft about 30 degrees at the mid span location. The second blade was bent aft about 5 degrees at its mid span position. Both blades were broken loose in the hub.

Examination of N8394E's cockpit showed the landing gear retraction and extension bar (gear bar) was positioned about 45 degrees to the floor. The landing gear's mechanical linkages were attached to the gear bar underneath the cockpit floor. The right landing gear linkage tubes had separated. The separated surfaces had shear lips on them. The nose gear linkage arms had separated at the clevis bolt attach point. The threaded end of the clevis bolts had shear lips on one side. The opposite side exhibited compression of the threads. The left main landing gear linkage was connected to the gear bar assembly. When tested, the landing gear extended fully and locked into the "DOWN" position. The landing gear was retracted without any of the associated linkages binding. The throttle, prop, and fuel mixture controls were attached to their appropriate locations.


The pilot's autopsy was conducted by Dr. Susan J. Roe, Assistant Medical Examiner for Ramsey county, Minnesota. The autopsy final anatomic diagnoses revealed the pilot had an "Intra cerebral hemorrhage, left basal ganglia, acute." The toxicological examination was conducted at the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of that examination were negative.


The wreckage was released to Mr. Thomas Lundeen, Chief Inspector at Regent Aviation, St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 8, 1997.

NTSB Probable Cause

pilot incapacitation due to a stroke.

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