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N252KD accident description

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Crash location 41.011667°N, 105.108889°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 Cheyenne, WY
41.139981°N, 104.820246°W
17.5 miles away

Tail number N252KD
Accident date 27 Jul 2000
Aircraft type Mooney M20K
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On July 27, 2000, approximately 0950 mountain daylight time, a Mooney M20K single-engine airplane, N252KD, impacted terrain under unknown circumstances approximately 15 miles southwest of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The airplane was registered to Deplains Inc., of Missoula, Montana, and operated by the pilot. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from Boulder, Colorado, approximately 0700.

The manager of a grazing association was alerted to a fire on the 36,000-acre parcel of land he managed. Upon investigation, he found a downed aircraft engulfed in flames and the surrounding grazing land on fire. The fire destroyed the aircraft and burned approximately 4,000 acres of grass and brush.

There were no reported distress calls from the pilot and no witnesses to the accident.


The commercial pilot held airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued a second class medical certificate with no limitations on October 1, 1999. According to the pilot's wife, his latest logbook was in the aircraft. A review of his previous logbook and FAA medical application information revealed that the pilot had accumulated a total of 1,100 flight hours, of which at least 445 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.


The low-wing, 4-seat aircraft was manufactured by Mooney Aircraft Corporation in 1988. According to the aircraft's maintenance records, the airplane underwent its last annual inspection on July 2, 1999, at an aircraft total time of 2,725.9 hours, and an engine total time of 832.8 hours. The last maintenance entry was an oil change on July 2, 2000, at an aircraft total time of 2,787.3 hours. The aircraft and engine total times at the time of the accident are unknown.


At 0956, the weather observation facility at the Cheyenne Airport, located approximately 35 miles northeast of the accident site, reported the wind from 120 degrees at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 27 degrees Celsius, dew point 7 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.


The airplane impacted the ground approximately 10 feet below the top of a 100-foot ridge, leaving one of its nose landing gear doors, and a propeller blade approximately 60 feet from the initial ground scar. The initial ground scar was 36 feet in length and oriented along a measured magnetic heading of 320 degrees. The airplane came to rest upright on a magnetic heading of 340 degrees approximately 609 feet from the initial impact point in the valley on the opposite side of the ridge. The cockpit and cabin sustained extensive fire damage rendering the flight instruments, engine instruments, and avionics unreadable. The left wing root was burned from the fuselage; however the rest of the wing remained relatively intact. The right wing sustained impact and fire damage and was displaced 45 degrees forward of its normal position in relation to the fuselage. The landing gear appeared to be in the retracted position, and the left spoiler was found retracted and the right spoiler extended. The right flap was separated from the right wing and was found laying adjacent to the fuselage. The left flap remained attached to the left wing and appeared to be extended approximately 5 degrees. The right side of the empennage was burned and the vertical and horizontal stabilizer remained attached even though they were bent and distorted.

The Continental TSIO-360-MB engine was found inverted and separated from the engine mounts; however, it remained attached to the aircraft via cables, hoses, and wires. The propeller hub was fractured at the piston and on the side of the separated blade. The propeller blade that remained attached to the hub was twisted toward low pitch and displayed heavy leading edge gouging. The propeller blade that was found at the initial impact area displayed "S" bending and heavy leading edge gouging. The left side of the engine and the accessory section sustained fire damage. The oil sump was cracked and punctured. An attempt to manually rotate the crankshaft was unsuccessful. The exhaust side of the turbocharger was crushed and the impeller blades on the compressor side displayed some leading edge damage.


An autopsy was conducted on the pilot at the McKee Medical Center, Loveland, Colorado. According to the medical examiner, the pilot died as a result of "massive deceleration injuries." Toxicological analysis of "urine for ethanol and drugs were noncontributory."


The aircraft and its records were released to the salvage facility on January 15, 2002.

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