Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mooney M20K 231, registered to CKD LLC and operated by the pilot, N231EC: Fatal accident occurred August 11, 2018 near Baker City Municipal Airport (KBKE), Oregon

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Baker City, OR
Accident Number: WPR18FA218
Date & Time: 08/11/2018, 1017 PDT
Registration: N231EC
Aircraft: Mooney M20K
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

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. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N231EC
Model/Series: M20K No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:  No
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: KBKE, 3373 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Destination: Baker City, OR (BKE)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  44.813333, -117.793889

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

William Watts and Dr. Mihoko Matsuda Nelsen 

Watts, William "Bill" Jeff and his wife; Nelsen, Mihoko Matsuda, passed away on August 11, 2018. 

A Celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 25th at 10:00 am at LifeSpring Christian Church, 174 N. Star Rd., Star, Idaho. 

Please join us to share your memories.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mooney Summit, The Bill Gilliland Foundation at:

Two people died when the Mooney M20K 231 plane in which they were traveling crashed nose first into a Baker Valley hay field near the airport Saturday morning.

The victims have been identified as William J. Watts, 77, who was piloting the plane, and Mihoko Matsuda Nelsen, 70, both of Middleton, Idaho.

The two had been traveling from Caldwell, Idaho, and were believed to have been enroute to the Baker City Airport, Sheriff Travis Ash stated in a press release.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the crash about 10:20 a.m. Saturday.

Ash said the hay field where the plane crashed is owned by Sam Johnson. It is near Lindley Road and Interstate 84 north of Baker City.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration N-number registry, the airplane was a 1979 single-engine Mooney M20K 231 registered to a business in Canyon County, Idaho.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board responded to Baker City to remove the airplane. The agencies are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the crash, Ash said.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the site by the Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire Department, Baker City Police Department, Oregon State Police and the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Original article ➤

BAKER COUNTY, Oregon — The two people on board an airplane that took off from Caldwell, Idaho, Saturday morning died when it crashed in eastern Oregon.

The Baker County Sheriff's Office says the Mooney M20K 231 airplane crashed near Lindley Road and I-84, in a hay field belonging to Sam Johnson.

When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found that the airplane had crashed nose-first into the ground. The two people on board did not survive the crash. Their identities will not be released until next of kin has been notified.

The airplane had been traveling from Caldwell and was believed to have been en route to the Baker Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration N-number registry, the airplane was a single-engine Mooney M20K, manufactured in 1979, and registered to a business in Canyon County.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office is working with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash.

The Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire Department, Baker City Police Department, and Oregon State Police assisted the Baker County Sheriff's Office at the scene.

Original article can be found here ➤

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