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N4398H accident description

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Crash location 40.399166°N, 74.658889°W
Nearest city Rocky Hill, NJ
40.399828°N, 74.634324°W
1.3 miles away
Tail number N4398H
Accident date 06 Apr 2005
Aircraft type Mooney M20J
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 6, 2005, about 2000 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N4398H, was substantially damaged during a go-around at Princeton Airport (39N), Rocky Hill, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, which departed from Cape May County Airport (WWD), Wildwood, New Jersey.

According to a written statement submitted by the pilot, he overflew the airport, activated the pilot controlled lighting, and announced his position on the common traffic advisory frequency. He then descended the airplane to the traffic pattern altitude, and announced his position while on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. He did not hear any other airplanes making position announcements.

The pilot maintained 70 mph while on the "short" final leg of the approach. About 20-30 feet above the ground, he observed another airplane at the opposite end of the runway, at the same altitude. He then made a right turn and initiated a go-around.

The pilot applied full power, and retracted the landing gear, flaps, and speed brakes. He held forward pressure on the control yoke, and was attempting to adjust the elevator trim in a nose down direction, when the airplane "stalled." The right wing of the airplane subsequently contacted rising terrain, and the airplane impacted the ground.

When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated, "I should have done a go-around straight down the runway, not a 45-degree turn off airport."

The weather reported at Trenton Mercer Airport (TTN), Trenton, New Jersey, located 10 nautical miles southwest, at 1953, included winds from 190 degrees at 3 knots, and clear skies.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during a go-around, which resulted in an inadvertent stall, and subsequent impact with terrain. Factors included the night lighting conditions, and the airplane approaching the opposite runway.

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