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N57287 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Jackson, MS
32.298757°N, 90.184810°W

Tail number N57287
Accident date 15 Jul 1993
Aircraft type Mooney M20-J
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT On July 15, 1993, about 0803 central daylight time, N57287, a Mooney M20-J registered to Chamberlain Leasing, and operated by the pilot, Thomas W. Gray, crashed on takeoff at Jackson, Mississippi, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the pilot received fatal injuries. One passenger received serious injuries and two passengers received minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses observed the airplane use almost the entire length of the 8,000-foot long runway and reported that the engine ran smooth, but did not sound like it was developing full power. The pilot radioed the tower after takeoff that he had engine problems and requested landing clearance. The clearance was issued and the airplane was observed to turn left in a steep turn about 200 feet above the ground. The airplane then struck trees and the ground.

The pilot had experienced problems with the engine 2 days before the accident. After landing in Hickory, North Carolina for an overnight stop and refueling, the airplane engine failed during taxi after landing. The pilot had the airplane towed in and had an aircraft mechanic examine the engine the next morning. The mechanic stated he adjusted the throttle linkage to increase the idle setting. The passengers stated the flight from Hickory, North Carolina, to Jackson, Mississippi,was routine.


The pilot Thomas W. Gray was the holder of a private pilots certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He held a Class II medical certificate dated December 11, 1991, with a limitation that the holder wear corrective lenses. Additional pilot information is located within this report.


N57287 was a Mooney 20-J registered to Chamberlain Aircraft Leasing Inc., and was operated by the pilot. The airplane records were reviewed and the last recorded inspection was an annual inspection recorded as completed on April 2, 1993, at an airplane total hours of 1,423.9. The airplane had flown about 110 hours since that inspection. The airplane was modified with a Mod Squad "Rocket" modification increasing the manifold pressure from 36 inHg to 38.5 inHg for takeoff. Additional airplane information is located within this report.


The main fuselage of N57287 was found with the longitudinal axis on a magnetic heading of 040 degrees, in a clearing in a wooded area just south of the Jackson, Mississippi airport. A tree about 50 yards east of the wreckage exhibited broken limbs, and the forward left cabin area and windshield had bark and foilage material similiar to the tree imbedded in the structure. About 35 feet west of the tree was an impact scar about 14 inches deep. The right wing leading edge was more extensively crushed aft than the left wing and the right leading edge had dirt and sod imbedded in it. The engine mount was partially failed at the firewall attach fittings. Examination of the aerodynamic flight controls revealed control continuity to all surfaces. The landing gear was in the up position and the flaps were up. The entire aft fuselage was crushed and broken open. The magneto switch was found in the off position by the first people to respond to the accident. The propeller exhibited only minor leading edge damage and only minimal tortional twisting. The engine was removed and examined at a local maintenance facility. Crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rod, piston, valve, and accessory gear continuity was established. A cold compression check was conducted using 80 psi regulated shop compressed air, the results were:#1 40/80, #2 30/80, #3 42/80, #4 72/80. The magnetos were removed and when hand turned fired on all points sequentially and adequately. The fuel divider block was examined and found to be functional and free of contaminants. The fuel servo was removed and taken to a shop in Miami, Florida. The servo was bench flowed, tested and found to be within servicable limits. A small dead bug was found in the inlet screen of the servo, after the test.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by the local Jackson, Mississippi Medical Examiner who reported the cause of death to be multiple blunt traumatic injuries. Toxicological examinations conducted by the Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,were negative for basic and acetic drugs.


The wreckage was released to Mr. David E. Gourgues of the owner's insurance company on July 17, 1993, and the fuel servo was released to the same party on March 8, 1994.

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