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N27ER accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 45.592500°N, 123.013889°W
Nearest city North Plains, OR
45.597060°N, 122.993439°W
1.0 miles away
Tail number N27ER
Accident date 05 Jan 2006
Aircraft type Mooney M20K
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On January 5, 2006, at 1056 Pacific standard time, a Mooney M20K, N27ER, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of aircraft control near North Plains, Oregon. The instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal, local flight that originated from Portland-Hillsboro Airport, Hillsboro, Oregon, approximately 45 minutes before the accident. The pilot had not filed a flight plan.

A friend of the pilot said that the pilot had purchased a new global positioning system (GPS) receiver and wanted to practice flying with it. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel, radar data indicated that after takeoff, the airplane maneuvered in an area south of Hillsboro Airport. At 1046:30, the pilot contacted Hillsboro Airport (ATC) tower requesting a practice VFR Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to runway 12. At 1052:25, the pilot reported that he was approaching Dolla final approach fix; three minutes later the pilot told ATC that he was losing power and he needed to "put down." The pilot's last transmission was at 1056:05, and he said "there's a grass strip here." Several residents of Sunset Air Strip, North Plains, Oregon, reported hearing a loud noise; subsequently they found the airplane adjacent to one of their taxiways in a filbert nut orchard. The residents reported that they did not smell any fuel fumes when they arrived at the aircraft.

A witness, who was driving east on US-26, approximately 3/8 statute mile from the accident scene, reported seeing the accident airplane enter a hard right turn at approximately 300 to 400 feet above the ground. He said the nose of the aircraft dropped 30 to 40 degrees, and the aircraft remained steeply banked until it disappeared from his sight. The witness, who was a certificated pilot, said "it looked very much like a spin entry."


The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration flight medical exam (third class) was taken on August 10, 2004. The pilot's personal flight logbook indicated that on December 26, 2004, he satisfactorily completed a biennial flight review and an instrument competency check. The pilot completed an application for aircraft insurance on April 11, 2005, and on that application he stated that he had 1,068 flight hours, with 672 hours in make and model.


The airplane was a single engine, propeller-driven, retractable landing gear, four seat airplane, which was manufactured by Mooney Aircraft Corporation, in 1984. The airplane had a maximum takeoff gross weight of 2,900 pounds. It was powered by a Continental TSIO-360-LB, six cylinder, reciprocating, fuel injected, turbocharged engine, which had a maximum takeoff rating of 210 horsepower at sea level. Maintenance records indicate that the last annual inspection was completed on May 24, 2005. The airplane's engine tachometer read 1,427.4 hours at the time of the annual inspection. The owner/pilot purchased the airplane and registered it with the FAA on June 20, 1996.

A search for the last refueling records was not successful.


At 1053, the weather conditions at Portland-Hillsboro Airport (elevation 204 feet), Portland, Oregon, located 120 degrees magnetic and 4 nautical miles from the accident site, were: wind calm; visibility 10 statue miles; overcast clouds at 7,500 feet; temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 43 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.25 inches.


The airplane was found in a filbert nut orchard (N45 degrees, 35', 33"; W123 degrees, 00', 50"; elevation 210 feet), aligned with runway 12 at Hillsboro Airport, approximately 4 nautical miles from the runway threshold. The filbert orchard was bordered on one side by a residential private turf airstrip called Sunset Air Strip, North Plains, Oregon. Two of the filbert trees (height approximately 12 to 15 feet) had branches separated from them. All of the airplane's major components were accounted for at the accident site. The landing gear was found in the down position. The propeller assembly, with its crankshaft propeller attachment flange, was found buried in the mud, and the airplane's main body was located 36 feet away on a 070 degree magnetic bearing. The fuselage's orientation was 275 degrees magnetic.

Both wings remained attached at their wing roots. The left wing had a 20 inch aft deformation approximately 3 feet inboard from its tip; this deformation was consistent with impact with a tree. The right wing was separated at the half way point, and the outboard half was rotated forward and inverted. The area of the fuselage, aft of the cabin, was circumferentially compressed and crushed. The engine, the flight and engine controls, and the instrument panel were rotated forward approximately 90 degrees.

The engine was extracted from the wreckage with the aid of an engine hoist. An external inspection revealed that the oil sump was breeched and only residual oil remained in the engine. Analysis of the engine could not be completed in the field due to impact damage to the forward end of the crankshaft. Five days later, the engine case was split, and no anomalies were identified. The propeller blades exhibited few leading edge nicks or gouges, nor were chord wise striations evident; one blade was bent approximately 30 degrees aft. The spinner exhibited minimum rotational deformation and aft crushing.

No preimpact engine or airframe anomalies, which might have affected the airplane's performance, were identified. No fuel was found in the airplane.


The Oregon State Medical Examiner, Clackamas, Oregon, performed an autopsy on the pilot on January 6, 2006.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#200600011001), the pilot's blood was tested for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles (ethanol) with negative results; the liver was tested for drugs with negative results.


The airplane, including all components and logbooks, was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company, on February 13, 2006.

Aerial photographs indicate that the approach end of runway 06 at Sunset Air Strip (10R3) was bordered by two estimated 180 acre plots of open crop land with no obstacles. The height of the ILS glide slope, above the accident site, was approximately 1,450 feet.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering for a forced landing, resulting in a stall-spin and uncontrolled descent to ground impact. A contributing factor was the loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion resulting from the pilot's inadequate preflight planning.

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