Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mooney M20J 201, N201EU: Accident occurred October 22, 2016 near Harris Ranch Airport (3O8), Coalinga, Fresno County, California

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N201EU

Location: Coalinga, CA
Accident Number: WPR17LA011
Date & Time: 10/22/2016, 1800 PDT
Registration: N201EU
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 22, 2016, about 1800 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20J airplane, N201EU, was substantially damaged following a forced landing due to a partial loss of engine power near Coalinga, California. The private pilot, who was the registered owner of the airplane, and his sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed Hanford Municipal Airport (HJO), Hanford, California, about 1740, with a reported destination as Harris Ranch airstrip (3O8), located about 8 nautical miles (nm) northeast of Coalinga.

In a report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that while on approach to 3O8 and about 8 nm [southeast] of the airstrip, the engine "hiccupped," then about 15 seconds later it began running rough and producing no power. The pilot stated that he then switched fuel tanks from the right tank to the left tank, and selected wide open throttle, mixture full rich, and added flaps to help with glide performance. In order to avoid high tension power lines, the pilot had to climb over them, which reduced both glide performance and airspeed. The airplane subsequently impacted a stand of almond trees, coming to rest in a nose down attitude on the ground. The pilot added that the engine appeared to be running until impact. Additionally, the pilot provided the following comment in the RECOMMENDATION section of the report: "We had enough fuel to get to our destination, but not all in the tank that was being drawn from. Better scan of the fuel flow would have helped prevent this accident."

An onsite postaccident examination of the airplane, which was performed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors on the morning following the accident, revealed that the airplane had come to rest in a tree orchard about one and one-half miles east of 3O8. A visual inspection revealed that there were no signs of fuel leakage on the ground, nor were there any fuel stains on the exterior surfaces of the airplane. The fuel system was observed to be completely intact and undamaged, with both wing tanks and strainer free of contaminates. The fuel selector was found pointed to the left tank position. Investigators reported that when the right wing tip was slightly raised, and the fuel selector positioned to the right tank position, about 4 ounces of clean blue colored gasoline was observed drained into a clean glass container. Subsequently, the left fuel tank sump was drained completely of its contents, which yielded about 7 gallons of clean blue colored gasoline; the flow divider contained a trace of gasoline. Further examination revealed that the fuel control unit's inlet finger strainer was observed to be clean, free flowing, and free of obstructions. Additionally, the fuel supply line dribbled a spoonful of clean blue colored gasoline when disconnected. No water or particulate contaminates were detected in the fuel system.

On November 3, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC and FAA inspectors, a test run of the engine was performed at the facilities of Valley Air Crafts, Tulare, California. The results of the test run revealed normal engine priming with the boost pump, normal starting, and normal operation when supplied with adequate fuel. Idle speed, idle mixture magneto checks and run up to maximum power were smooth and normal with an exemplar propeller installed. There were no anomalies detected with the engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 29, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/10/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/16/2016
Flight Time:  986 hours (Total, all aircraft), 42 hours (Total, this make and model), 928 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 81 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 26 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Registration: N201EU
Model/Series: M20J
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 24-0164
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/04/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 53 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3453.4 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:  Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO360
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHJO, 240 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 33 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1756 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 20°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.81 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hanford, CA (HJO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Coalinga, CA (3O8)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1740 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 36.242500, -120.217778

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA011
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Coalinga, CA
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N201EU
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 22, 2016, about 1800 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N201EU, was substantially damaged following a forced landing due to a loss of engine power near Coalinga, California. The private pilot/registered owner of the airplane, and his sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, departed Hanford Municipal Airport (HJO), Hanford, California, about 1740, with Harris Ranch (3O8), Coalinga, the reported destination.

In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that about 10 miles out and while descending toward the destination airport, he experienced a loss of engine power; attempts to regain full power were not successful. Not being able to make it to the destination airport, the pilot elected to make a forced landing. The airplane landed and remained upright in an almond orchard, which resulted in substantial damage to both wings. The airplane will be recovered to a secured salvage facility for further examination.

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