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N231EC accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 44.813333°N, 117.793889°W
Nearest city Baker City, OR
44.774875°N, 117.834385°W
3.3 miles away
Tail number N231EC
Accident date 11 Aug 2018
Aircraft type Mooney M20K
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On August 11, 2018, at 1017 Pacific daylight time a Mooney M20K, N231EC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the landing approach into Baker City Municipal Airport, Baker, Oregon. The private pilot and student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to CKD LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight cross-country. The flight departed Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell, Idaho about 1045 mountain daylight time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

About 1015, a pilot located in his hangar about 1,300 ft southwest of runway 31 midfield, observed a low-wing airplane flying directly overhead and to the south. It caught his attention because it was flying lower than the pattern altitude at between 600 and 700 ft above ground level, and it was inside the normal left downwind traffic pattern. He then heard the airplane reduce engine power, a sound that he was familiar with, and that seemed appropriate for an airplane descending to land. He did not see the airplane emitting any smoke or vapors, and a short time later he got onto his motorcycle and drove along the adjacent frontage road. He instinctively looked to the runway threshold in anticipation of watching the airplane land but did not see the airplane and thought nothing more of it. He stated that in retrospect this was unusual, as the airplane should have landed about that time.

About the same time, the owner of a local fixed base operator was in her office, located on the airfield. She had just dispatched one of the company airplanes with a student and instructor and heard it, along with a Forest Service and local agricultural airplane, make radio calls reporting takeoff. She then heard the pilot of the accident airplane report that he was on final for runway 31. She did not hear the pilot make any more calls, and did not hear the airplane landing.

Multiple witnesses located to the south of the airport recounted observations of a low-wing airplane flying south-southeast in a direction typically followed by airplanes making a landing approach for runway 31. Two witnesses observed the airplane then begin a left turn and out of view beyond trees, followed by the sound of a thump. One witness observed the airplane turn, and then immediately transition to a rapid nose-down descent. Another witness located under the approach path for runway 31 observed the airplane fly overhead to the south and then off into the distance. Based on its location, he assumed it had just taken off, and a short time later he looked back and could no longer hear the airplane, but saw it was in a nose-dive.

The wreckage was located in a pasture about 1 1/4 miles south-southeast of the runway 31 threshold. The fuselage came to rest on a heading of about 090° magnetic and had sustained crush damage from the nose through to the forward edge of the vertical stabilizer. Both wings exhibited leading-edge crush damage perpendicular to the wing chord, and the smell of aviation fuel was present at the site.

The propeller and hub had separated from the engine and were buried about 12 inches into the turf just forward of the main wreckage at what appeared to be the first impact point. The turf surrounding the propeller had been sliced open, and an 18-inch square scallop of sod was ejected about 5 ft to the south. Both blades appeared to have cut through the turf, resulting in the propeller effectively becoming screwed into the ground.

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