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N7887V accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 39.679167°N, 119.866667°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Reno, NV
39.529633°N, 119.813803°W
10.7 miles away
Tail number N7887V
Accident date 08 Jun 2015
Aircraft type Mooney M20C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 8, 2015, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N7887V, was destroyed during an off-airport landing following an in-flight fire while in the airport traffic pattern at the Reno-Stead Airport (RTS), Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot and the airline transport pilot rated passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from RTS about 1 hour prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that they departed Runway 8, performed a series of touch and go takeoff and landings, which included three go-arounds. While on downwind for the fourth landing, they noticed smoke inside the cockpit. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a dirt road about 1-mile north of the airport. When the pilot and passenger exited the airplane, they observed flames originating from the lower cowling area near the air intake.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the fuselage and inboard portion of both wings were mostly consumed by fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Examination of the recovered wreckage on July 29, 2015, revealed that it was mostly consumed by fire. The engine remained attached to the engine mounts. All fuel lines and oil lines appeared to be intact and secured to their respective fittings with the exception of the number two oil return line from the rocker box to the crankcase. The oil line was found disconnected from the rubber sleeve and clamped at the crankcase. In addition, the tube from the turbocharger waste gate to the exhaust was separated into two pieces throughout the entire area of a weld seam at the exhaust side of the tube. A heavy amount of oil residue was observed within the area that surrounded the separated tube. A portion of the separated exhaust was removed, and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory for further examination.

Further examination of the two portions of the exhaust tubing revealed that both portions of the exhaust manifold internal and external surfaces exhibited an oxidized appearance. Both halves of the separation between the two portions exhibited similar levels of oxidation. Neither one of the two portions exhibited any deformations or dents. The clamp assembly appeared oxidized but did not exhibit any damage.

Examination of portion number one, which contained the remaining weld bead, revealed that an approximate 2-inch crack had formed between portion number one and the bead. The base material in the vicinity of the crack was oxidized and appeared to have been eroded.

Examination of portion number two revealed thinning of the tube wall near the area of separation. Wall thickness measurements on the opposite side of the separation area indicated a thickness of approximately 0.042 inch, while wall thickness measurements near the separation were as low as 0.021 inch.

NTSB Probable Cause

The in-flight separation of the exhaust tube at a weld joint due to erosion and corrosion, which resulted in a subsequent in-flight fire.

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