Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rutan VariEze, N944X, registered to and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred February 11, 2018 at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), Los Angeles County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, 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/N944X

Collision with Hangar 

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Accident Number: WPR18LA089
Date & Time: 02/11/2018, 1258 PST
Registration: N944X
Aircraft: SHANKS V ROGER VARI EZE
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On February 11, 2018, at 1258 Pacific standard time, an experimental amateur-built Roger V Shanks (Rutan Aircraft Factory) VariEze airplane, N944X, struck a hangar during its landing rollout at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the nose and canard assembly which detached from the airframe. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Brackett Field Airport, La Verne, California, about 1240.

The pilot reported that the landing approach to runway 21 was uneventful, and that he landed about 100 ft beyond the runway numbers. As soon as the nosewheel touched down, the pilot applied brake pressure and the airplane began to swerve to the left. He released and reapplied brake pressure, but the airplane continued to veer left. He then proceeded to alternately cycle the brakes and right rudder as the ground roll progressed. The oscillations continued as the airplane slowed down, but aware that the terrain dropped off beyond the runway end, the pilot decided to apply full braking effort, rather than risk descending the drop-off. The airplane then veered violently to the left, crossed over the adjacent taxiway, and struck a hangar (Photo 1).

Skid marks on the runway indicated that the airplane departed the runway surface just before taxiway B2, about 500 ft short of the runway end, and 1,300 ft before the end of the runway apron where the terrain dropped away. The skid mark on the left side was darker in color and more prominent than the mark on the right (Photo 2).


Photo 1 - Airplane in Hangar

Photo 2 - Runway Skid Marks

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/29/2017
Flight Time: 260 hours (Total, all aircraft), 102 hours (Total, this make and model), 179 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 29, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/28/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 100 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SHANKS V ROGER
Registration: N944X
Model/Series: VARI EZE NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1982
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 893
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/18/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 9 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1536.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-200 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
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: KSMO, 174 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1302 PST
Direction from Accident Site: 34°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LA VERNE, CA (POC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1240 PST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: SANTA MONICA MUNI (SMO)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 169 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

The airport consisted of a single runway designated 3/21, which was shortened in December 2017 from 4,973 ft to 3,500 ft. The pilot stated that he was aware of the reduced runway length. Runway 21 slopes downhill, with a gradient of 1.2%.

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: 34.012500, -118.453889


Photo 3 - Right Brake Caliper

Tests And Research

Brake System

The airplane was equipped with a free-castering nosewheel, with ground steering accomplished through differential braking once rudder effectiveness diminished at lower speeds. The design did not incorporate conventional toe-brakes, but instead brake pressure was applied directly via the rudder pedals once they had been pushed beyond the pedals' rudder travel limits.

Each rudder pedal was connected via cables to combination rudder and brake bellcrank assemblies mounted on the firewall. The brake master cylinders were also mounted on the firewall and connected directly to their respective rudder bellcrank assemblies. The master cylinders contained integral reservoirs; the cylinders were the 10-35 type manufactured by Parker Corporation. Accessing the master cylinders for fluid check and service required removal of the engine cowl.

The main landing gear were equipped with conventional brake rotors and hydraulic calipers. Each wheel assembly was enclosed within a composite wheel pant, which visually obscured the caliper and brake rotor.

Postaccident examination of the brake master cylinders revealed that the right brake reservoir fluid level was filled to just under half of its capacity. Further examination revealed that the top and rear surfaces of the right caliper were coated with dirt-encrusted fluid, from a leak which appeared to have developed at the inlet fitting of the caliper (Photo 3). No active drips were observed, and examination of the remaining brake system components did not reveal any other fluid leaks or mechanical anomalies, and the left brake reservoir was full.

Maintenance records indicated that the pilot replaced the hydraulic brake lines on the right side in July 2014, 147.3 flight hours before the accident. He reported using "NylaFlow" nylon tubing, in accordance with the airframe kit manufacturers instructions, and although there was no entry in the logbooks, he also replaced the left brake lines a brief time later with the same material. He stated that the right line was replaced because a leak had developed at the fitting on the caliper, such that he found fluid on the ramp during a preflight inspection.

The pilot stated that he last checked the brake fluid reservoir levels at the most recent oil change, which according to the maintenance records, was 50.5 flight hours prior to the accident. He reported that on the morning of the accident, he had departed from two airports and tested the brakes during taxi on both occasions; the brakes performed appropriately, and no anomalies were encountered.

Quartz Mountain Aerospace Inc 11E, registered to and operated by Oracle Aviation LLC, N515BW: Accident occurred January 24, 2018 in Millard, Omaha, Nebraska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

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/N515BW




Location: Omaha, NE
Accident Number: CEN18LA085
Date & Time: 01/24/2018, 1418 CST
Registration: N515BW
Aircraft: QUARTZ MOUNTAIN AEROSPACE L-11E
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On January 24, 2018, at 1418 central standard time, a Quartz Mountain Aerospace (Luscombe) 11E, N515BW, struck trees and a fence during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power in Omaha, Nebraska. The certificated airline transport flight instructor and certificated commercial flight instructor receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The rental airplane was registered to and operated by Oracle Aviation, LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Millard Airport (MLE), about 1100.

According to the instructor's accident report, the airplane was full of fuel (verified visually), which should have provided about four hours of flight time. The planned flight time was 3 hours. They flew to Wayne Municipal Airport (LCG), Wayne, Nebraska, and Central Nebraska Regional Airport (GRI), Grand Island Nebraska, where they made an instrument approach at each airport before returning to MLE. The airplane was on the GPS (Global Positioning System runway) 12 instrument approach, about 5.3 miles from MLE, when the engine lost power. Following the emergency checklist, the engine regained power for about 10 seconds. The instructor assumed control and made a forced landing in a school baseball field near a road intersection. During the forced landing, the airplane struck trees and a fence, causing damage to a wing spar.

The airplane was towed back to MLE where Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Lincoln, Nebraska, Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) examined the airplane. They drained a total of ½-gallon of fuel from both tanks. Both the tachometer and Hobbs meter indicated a flight duration of 3.1 hours.

The instructor noted that a similar incident occurred about two weeks earlier. In that case, the pilots were able to land at the airport. No determination was made as to why the engine lost power, but the instructor surmised that either the tanks did not hold 42 gallons, or the engine was consuming a "significantly greater amount" of fuel.

According to the service technician, when he serviced the airplane a few days before the accident, and it was not full of fuel. He added fuel to a level "just above the tab portion" of the fuel neck. Using another similar airplane, the technician demonstrated to FAA inspectors how he fueled the airplane to his customary level. He then added 6 additional gallons (3 gallons per tank) to reach the full level. It was estimated about 34 gallons of fuel was on board the airplane. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/13/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/05/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 16046 hours (Total, all aircraft), 60 hours (Total, this make and model), 13400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 26, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/03/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1420 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model), 1337 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: QUARTZ MOUNTAIN AEROSPACE
Registration: N515BW
Model/Series: L-11E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1006
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/21/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2280 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 276 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-ES
Registered Owner: Oracle Aviation, LLC
Rated Power: 185 hp
Operator: Oracle Aviation, LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MLE, 1051 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1415 CST
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Clearance: IFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1100 CST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Millard (MLE)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 105 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow; Wet
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: Global Positioning System; Practice
Runway Length/Width: 3801 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  41.196111, -96.112222 (est)

Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane, N421KR: Accident occurred May 03, 2017 at Portage County Airport (KPOV), Ravenna, Ohio

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Olmsted, Ohio

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


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


https://registry.faa.gov/N421KR 

Location: Portage County Airport, OH

Accident Number: GAA17CA266
Date & Time: 05/03/2017, 1430 EDT
Registration: N421KR
Aircraft: CESSNA T182
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The solo student pilot reported that, during a touch-and-go, the airplane veered off the runway to the left and impacted a culvert.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing.

The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/26/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 78.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 59.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 78.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 11.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N421KR
Model/Series: T182T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: T18208308
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/08/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 416 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-AK1A
Registered Owner: GRWW AVIATION LLC.
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: GRWW AVIATION LLC.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPOV, 1198 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1816 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 351°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: CLEVELAND, OH (CGF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: RAVENNA, OH (POV)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1330 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: PORTAGE COUNTY (POV)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1197 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3499 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  41.210278, -81.248611 (est)

Columbia LC41-550FG, registered to JMK3 Lands LLC and operated by the pilot, N972JK: Fatal accident occurred January 05, 2017 near Gurdon Lowe Field Airport (5M8), Gurdon, Clark County, Arkansas

James "Jimmy" Kent III 
January 23, 1976 - January 5, 2017

James M. Kent III (Jimmy) was called home to our Lord on January 5, 2017, flying with his cousin and best friend, Bob Kent.  Jimmy was a unique and caring individual who touched the lives of all who knew him. He had a vibrant personality and took fashion cues from no one. No matter where he was, Jimmy lit up the room and had a huge heart. If you knew him, you probably recall getting a text from him that touched your heart. He was a coach in his own right, always encouraging people to “do more and be better”. The way he died is like he lived: he wrote his own rules; he lived life to the fullest, doing everything with a smile, and paving his own way. If you knew him, you loved him.

Throughout his life, he was most proud of marrying the love of his life, Martha Garcia; playing baseball professionally; being a successful land developer; his collection of cars; and getting his pilot’s license and flying his own plane, right until the day he died. He truly embodied the concept of living life to the fullest. 


Robert "Bob" Charles Kent Jr.
November 25, 1980 - January 5, 2017

Robert Charles Kent, Jr. (“Bob”) passed away on January 5, 2017, at the age of 36. A beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend, Bob lived life with a passion that few could match. His brilliant smile and unwavering positivity brought light into the world of every person he encountered. His drive and work ethic enabled him to build a successful commercial real estate company, Kent Realty, from the ground up, and his generous spirit led him to share the fruits of his labor with those he loved. Remembered as sincere, charismatic, and kind-hearted, Bob’s tremendous impact on those around him will never be forgotten.

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Little Rock, Arkansas
Continental Engines; Mobile, Alabama
Cessna Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas

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/N972JK 


Location: Gurdon, AR
Accident Number: CEN17FA071
Date & Time: 01/05/2017, 1239 CST
Registration: N972JK
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 5, 2017, about 1239 central standard time, a Columbia Aircraft 400-LC41 airplane, N972JK, impacted terrain near Gurdon, Arkansas, after a rapid descent. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed from impact forces and postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to JMK3 Lands, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed before the cross-country personal flight. The flight originated from McKinney National Airport (TKI), McKinney, Texas, about 1145 with an intended destination of Macon County Airport (1A5), Franklin, North Carolina. 

According to the air traffic control (ATC) transcript and radar information, the airplane was at a cruise altitude of 17,500 ft mean sea level (msl) when the pilot requested, at 1217:22, an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to climb to 25,000 feet msl to do an "equipment test," but he did not specify what equipment needed to be tested. The pilot also provided the controller with the required information for a "pop up" IFR clearance. Radar data showed that, about 1229, the airplane climbed to 25,000 ft; at 1232:21, the pilot requested to descend back to 17,500 ft. Radar data showed that the airplane had started to descend before the controller could clear the pilot to descend to 19,000 ft. At 1233:03 and 1233:17, the controller asked the pilot "is everything alright"? The pilot responded that the airplane was "having a little bit of an equipment issue" and requested to cancel the IFR clearance. The controller cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 17,000 ft and queried if he needed any assistance. The pilot responded that he was "okay right now." At 1236:39, the pilot declared an emergency, and the ATC controller requested the pilot to state the nature of the emergency. The pilot's response was unintelligible. The controller attempted to contact the airplane but received no response from the pilot. The controller asked other airplanes that were operating in the area to try to contact the pilot, but no responses were received.

Radar data showed that the airplane had rapidly descended from 20,400 ft at 1236:01 to 3,100 ft at 1238:13. No further radar returns were recorded, and no distress calls from the airplane were heard by ATC or other aircraft operating in the area. The airplane impacted terrain about 1239.

According to a report provided by the Clark County, Arkansas, Sheriff's Department, an ATC controller contacted the sheriff's department about an airplane in distress. The controller indicated that, at the time of the airplane's last known coordinates, the airplane was 5.6 miles east of Gurdon, Arkansas. The airplane wreckage was located shortly afterward by the pilot of and spotters in an Arkansas State Police helicopter. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 40, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/01/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 250 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 36
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 450 hours (Total, all aircraft), 10 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate issued on September 6, 2016, with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on June 1, 2016, with no limitations. The pilot's flight logbook was not available, but a family member estimated that he had about 250 hours of total flight experience and about 100 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane. Also, this family member stated that the pilot had recently bought a "full face" oxygen mask for the airplane and that he and the pilot-rated passenger had attended a high altitude/hypoxia training course about 3 weeks before the accident. 

FAA records also showed that the pilot-rated passenger held a private pilot certificate issued on April 30, 2013, with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on September 16, 2015, with no limitations. The pilot-rated passenger's flight logbook was not available, but a family member estimated that he had about 450 hours of total flight experience and about 10 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG
Registration: N972JK
Model/Series: LC41 550FG 550FG
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:  Normal
Serial Number: 41800
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/02/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 93 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 418 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-550-C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane, serial number 41800, was manufactured in 2007. Cessna acquired the type certificate for the airplane model from Columbia in 2009, and the airplane is sometimes referred to as a Cessna Columbia 400. A Continental Motors TSIO550C engine was installed on the airplane, and a Hartzell three-blade propeller was installed on the engine. The engine's and propeller's most recent 100-hour inspections were completed on June 2, 2016. The airplane was also equipped with an anti-ice system and an oxygen system.

According to a family member, the pilot purchased the airplane in August 2016. Before the accident flight, the airplane had accumulated 418 hours of flight time. 

A review of the airplane's available maintenance records did not reveal any outstanding issues. According to the records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 6, 2016, at an airplane total time of 325.5 hours. 

According to TKI fueling records, the airplane received 62 gallons of fuel at 1107 on the morning of the accident. TKI service records showed that the airplane had an oil change and oxygen system service that morning. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ADF, 181 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1156 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 190°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (TKI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR/IFR
Destination: Franklin, NC (1A5)
Type of Clearance: IFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1145 CST
Type of Airspace: Class E

A review of the weather information from of the accident indicated a layer of broken to overcast clouds over Texas into Arkansas. A review of the soundings and the local observation indicated favorable conditions for broken to overcast clouds between 2,000 and 6,000 ft.

Dexter B. Florence Memorial Airport, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, was the nearest weather reporting facility, located about 15 miles south of the accident site. The weather observation for 1256 indicated the following: wind from 360° at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles or more; ceiling broken at 2,400 ft above ground level (agl), overcast at 3,700 ft agl; temperature 3°C, dew point -2°C, altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury. Also, a review of the National Weather Service in-flight weather advisories near the accident site found none that were current for turbulence, icing, or instrument conditions below 24,000 ft. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.899444, 93.037222 (est) 

The airplane wreckage was found in swampy terrain that was densely vegetated with cypress trees. The wreckage was in a 4-ft-deep muddy, water-filled crater. Snowfall after the accident covered much of the wreckage. The cypress trees above the crater showed evidence of broken limbs at the top of the trees. The airplane was severely fragmented into small pieces, some of which were scattered beside the impact crater, and a postimpact fire had ensued. The wreckage evidence was consistent with a high-speed, nearly vertical, nose-down impact. The engine was extracted from the crater along with the propeller, which was attached to the crankshaft propeller flange. The propeller spinner was crushed by impact forces but did not exhibit twisting witness characteristics.

The airplane wreckage, engine, and propeller were recovered from the accident site and transported to a secure location for further examination by the NTSB, Cessna, and Continental Motors.

Airframe

The recovered airframe pieces were laid out to examine the flight controls. Due to the severe fragmentation, flight control continuity could only be established from the rudder surface to overload separations on the control cables leading to the cockpit. The aft elevator push-pull tube was found attached to the elevator torque tube, and the elevator surfaces were found separated from the torque tubes due to impact damage. The elevator trim tab was found in about a 16° tab down angle. One of the two speedbrake modules was deployed. The airframe fuel, environmental, anti-icing, and oxygen systems could not be examined due to the severe impact and postcrash fire damage. Cockpit gauges and instruments also could not be examined due to impact and postcrash fire damage.

Engine

The ignition harness was impact damaged. The engine could be manually rotated, and crankshaft/camshaft continuity was confirmed. All valves opened and closed normally. Thumb compression was achieved on all cylinders. Mud and water were expelled from each cylinder when the engine was manually rotated.

All six cylinders remained attached at their respective mounts. Cylinder No. 1 exhibited a large crack between the induction port and the intake rocker box cover. Cooling fins were impact damaged. The rocker box covers exhibited minor impact damage but remained attached to each cylinder.

The engine-driven fuel pump remained intact and attached to its mount on the rear of the engine. The fuel hose fittings were damaged from the impact and had separated from the fuel pump. The fuel pump drive coupling was found intact. The fuel pump operated smoothly when manually rotated, and a small amount of fuel was expelled. The fuel manifold, throttle body, and metering unit were intact. Fuel lines from the fuel manifold to individual fuel injectors were damaged from the impact, and the fuel injectors remained intact in each cylinder head.

The induction tube for cylinder No. 1 separated during the engine recovery, and the induction tubes for the Nos. 2 through 6 cylinders remained attached with varying impact damage. The right and left after-cooler assemblies were not recovered. The right forward induction tube assembly was impact damaged, and the left forward induction tube had separated. The upper deck pressure air manifold tubes were impact damaged. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and inspected, and each spark plug was contaminated with mud from the swamp water and oil. A lighted borescope inspection was accomplished, and all valves were found to be intact and in place.

The oil cooler was attached, but the mounting base was damaged. The oil sump exhibited upward crushing damage due to impact forces. The oil pick-up tube and screen were impact damaged. The oil filter remained attached to its mount with the safety wire intact. The oil filter was removed and cut open, and the oil filter paper pleats showed no contamination.

The engine was transported to Continental Motors in Mobile, Alabama, for a teardown examination under the supervision of the NTSB and with Continental Motors personnel present. The teardown examination of the engine revealed no mechanical anomalies. For more information, see the engine teardown report in the docket for this accident.

The propeller and turbochargers were transported to Continental Motors for a teardown examination under the supervision of the NTSB and with Continental Motors and Hartzell Propeller personnel present.

The teardown of the propeller and its assembly revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have prevented or degraded normal propeller operation before impact. Preload plate impact marks indicated that the propeller was operating in the normal blade angle range at the time of impact. Blade bending and twisting were consistent with a low power setting and/or windmilling at a high airspeed at the time of impact.

The teardown of the turbochargers revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have prevented or degraded normal turbocharger operation before impact. The right turbocharger compressor housing was bent in a manner consistent with impact forces, and the impeller was impinging on the compressor wheel, preventing rotation. Contact/chatter/rub marks in the compressor housing were consistent with low-speed rotation before impact and a low power condition. All damage to both turbochargers was consistent with high impact forces.

For more information about the propeller and turbochargers, see the teardown report in the docket for this accident.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, Medical Examiner Division, Little Rock, Arkansas, performed an autopsy of the pilot and the pilot-rated passenger. The cause of death for both the pilot and the pilot-rated passenger was multiple injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of the pilot. No ethanol or carbon monoxide was detected. Amphetamines were detected in urine (6.97 µg/ml, µg/g) and blood specimens (0.42 µg/ml, µg/g). Amphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance available by prescription in various forms for the treatment of attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy. It is also a common drug of abuse; peak levels in abuse are typically above 0.04 ug/ml in blood and above 10 ug/ml in urine. However, amphetamine undergoes significant post mortem redistribution which may increase central levels (such as heart levels) by 3-8 times.

Toxicology tests were also performed on the pilot-rated passenger. No ethanol was detected. Carbon monoxide tests were not performed. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marijuana) was detected in liver (0.0827 µg/ml, µg/g) and brain specimens (0.0022 µg/ml, µg/g). Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (THC-COOH), the inactive metabolite of THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) in liver and brain. However, no parent drug (THC) was identified in brain and the liver was unsuitable for further testing.


NTSB Identification: CEN17FA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 05, 2017 in Gurdon, AR
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG, registration: N972JK
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 5, 2017, about 1240 central standard time, a Columbia LC41-550FG single engine airplane, N972JK, registered to JMK3 Lands LLC, Charlotte, North Carolina, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in the vicinity of Gurdon, Arkansas. The private pilot and his pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The cross country personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and an IFR clearance was in effect. The flight originated from the McKinney National Airport (TKI), McKinney, Texas about 1145 and was enroute to the Macon County Airport (1A5), Franklin, North Carolina. 

According to preliminary Air Traffic Control (ATC) and radar information, the airplane was cruising level at 17,500 feet MSL when the pilot requested an IFR clearance to climb to 25,000 feet MSL to test some equipment. About 1232, radar showed the airplane climb to 25,000 feet, and shortly afterward, the pilot requested to descend to 17, 500 feet and proceeded to descend. ATC cleared the pilot to descend to 19,000 feet and queried the pilot to ask if he was ok. The pilot responded that the airplane was experiencing equipment issues and requested to cancel his IFR clearance and descend to 17,500 feet. About 1235, ATC cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 17,000 feet and queried if he needed any assistance. The pilot responded that everything was ok. About 1236, the pilot declared an emergency and ATC requested the pilot to state the nature of the emergency. The pilot's response was garbled and not recognizable. As radar showed the airplane in a rapid descent, ATC attempted to contact the airplane without any success. Radar contact with the airplane was lost about 3,100 feet and no distress calls were heard by ATC or other aircraft in the area.

The wreckage of the airplane was located in a dense, tree-populated swamp. Evidence at the accident site showed that the airplane impacted the ground at high speed, almost 90-degrees nose down. The majority of the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire.

The airplane wreckage and the engine/propeller components were recovered from the accident site and transported to Dawson Aircraft, Clinton, Arkansas.

Mooney M20J, privately owned and operated, N526AM: Fatal accident occurred September 25, 2016 near Sky Manor Airport (N40), Pittstown, Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Gerald Scott Budge


Gerald Scott Budge -father, clinical psychologist, mentor, caregiver and friend to all he met - died in a plane crash September 25th, 2016, in Pittstown, New Jersey, at the age of 59. 

A gentle old soul, Scott was an extraordinarily considerate, kind and compassionate man who took a deep interest in people in both his personal and professional life. He devoted his life to caring for others. Whether it was skydiving or fighting range fires in his youth, skiing or climbing heights, he was always adventurous and died doing what he loved, piloting an airplane. 

Karen Leigh Lowe

Karen Leigh Lowe of Telford passed away unexpectedly on September 25th, 2016. She was 52.  Karen was a stroke survivor who overcame her physical disabilities and completed her college education later in her life. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Philadelphia, graduating in 2006.  She went on to start a successful interior design business and was involved in many renovation projects for both businesses and private homes.


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

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/N526AM



Location: Pittstown, NJ
Accident Number: ERA16FA325
Date & Time: 09/25/2016, 1230 EDT
Registration: N526AM
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 25, 2016, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N526AM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during initial climb after a balked landing at Sky Manor Airport (N40), Pittstown, New Jersey. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Pennridge Airport (CKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania, about 1200.

The pilot had rented the airplane at the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87), Robbinsville, New Jersey. According to security camera video, he boarded the airplane and departed from N87 at 1121. The pilot flew to CKZ, where he picked up the passenger. The pilot then flew to N40 with the passenger.

Numerous witnesses at N40 reported that the pilot attempted twice to land on runway 25. During the first landing attempt, the airplane appeared to be fast on the final approach. During the touchdown, the airplane bounced. The pilot then aborted the landing, climbed out, and joined the traffic pattern.

Review of video recordings obtained from a security camera at N40 revealed that, during the second landing attempt, about 1229, the airplane touched down more than halfway down the length of the runway. The video recording also revealed that the airplane's wing flaps were extended, and a flag visible in the camera frame indicated that a variable right-quartering tailwind existed. Witnesses reported that, during the second landing attempt, the airplane was again fast on the approach, and it touched down first on the nose wheel, then on the main landing gear, bounced, and became airborne. The airplane bounced twice more, touched down about 400 to 500 ft before the end of the runway and remained on the runway surface. Witnesses heard the engine power increase as the airplane approached the end of the pavement, and the airplane began to climb.

The witnesses described that the airplane appeared to climb slowly as it passed over a field that was surrounded by trees at the end of the runway, and some witnesses reported that the engine did not seem to be producing full power. As the airplane approached the row of trees at the far end of the field, it appeared to climb steeply. The airplane cleared the row of trees and then abruptly banked steeply to the left, pitched nose down, and descended in a steep, nose-down attitude out of view behind the trees.

According to a witness who lived near the accident site, the airplane was flying very low and slow compared to many other airplanes that he had observed departing from N40. The airplane rose slightly, pivoted nose down, and then rapidly lost altitude as it went out of view behind a barn. According to another witness, he heard the airplane's engine running as it descended out of view. According to both witnesses, moments after losing sight of the airplane they heard the sound of impact.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/10/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/11/2015
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 187.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 35.7 hours (Total, this make and model) 

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 10, 2016. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accrued about 188 total hours of flight experience of which 36 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. 

Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that his most recent flight before the accident flight was in a Piper PA-28-181, on January 14, 2016, about 8 months before the accident. Further review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the pilot's most recent flight in a Mooney M20J before the accident flight occurred on November 21, 2015, about 10 months before the accident. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Registration: N526AM
Model/Series: M20J
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 24-0916
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/13/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2899 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4690.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A3B6D
Registered Owner: SKINNER ILISSA
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: Air Mods Flight Training Center, Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was a 4-place, complex, single-engine monoplane. The airframe had a tubular steel cabin frame covered with non-structural aluminum skins, a semi-monocoque tail cone, and a full cantilever laminar-flow wing. It was equipped with a retractable, electrically-operated, tricycle-type landing gear with rubber shock discs, a steerable nose wheel, and hydraulic disc brakes. It was powered by an air-cooled, fuel-injected, 200 horsepower, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder, Lycoming engine driving a 2-blade, variable-pitch, constant-speed McCauley propeller. 

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. The airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 13, 2016. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued about 4,690.3 total hours of operation, and the engine had accrued about 100 hours of operation since major overhaul.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SMQ, 106 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PERKASIE, PA (CKZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pittstown, NJ (N40)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1200 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

At 1253, the recorded weather at Somerset Airport (SMQ), Somerville, New Jersey, located 15 nautical miles east of the accident site, included wind 350° at 10 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 21°C, dew point -1°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.17 inches of mercury. Calculation of the crosswind component using the recorded weather at SMQ indicated that about a 2-knot tailwind would have been present on runway 25 at N40 about the time of the accident.

Airport Information

Airport: SKY MANOR (N40)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 560 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2900 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go Around; Traffic Pattern 

N40, located 2 miles southwest of Pittstown, New Jersey, was uncontrolled and had one runway in a 7/25 configuration. Runway 25 was asphalt, had a 0.3%-down gradient, and was in good condition. The runway was 2,900 ft long and 50 ft wide and was marked with non-precision markings in good condition.

Electrical transmission lines crossed the approach path for runway 25, about 99 ft above ground level, 2,070 ft from the beginning of the runway, and 210 ft left of centerline. The transmission lines were equipped with spherical high visibility markers and required an 18:1 slope to clear.

A 2-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) that was installed on the left side of the runway displayed a 4.00° glidepath to provide pilots with guidance information to help acquire and maintain the correct approach slope to the runway. Postaccident examination of the PAPI revealed that it was operational and was aligned so that an airplane following its guidance would touch down within the first third of the runway. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.559444, -74.990556 

Examination of the runway revealed the presence of two fresh propeller strike marks and a tire transfer mark, which was perpendicular to and imprinted over one of the propeller strike marks. The strike marks were located 1,747 ft from the beginning of runway 25 and about 4 ft 11 inches to the right of the runway centerline.

Examination of the accident site revealed ground scars and wreckage distribution consistent with the airplane impacting a field in a nose-down attitude and coming to rest against the base of a tree. During the impact sequence, a small tree about 6 ft high was knocked down. Propeller strike marks were visible on about three of the small tree's branches. The leading edge of the right wing displayed crush and compression damage from the tip to about midspan; most of the sheet metal was crushed and accordioned back to the wing spar. The trailing edge of the right wing root also displayed compression damage. The outboard panel of the left wing displayed crush damage and was bent back about 30°.

The engine was separated from its mounting position and was found lying on the ground forward of the left side of the fuselage. The empennage was almost completely separated from the aft fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were wrinkled and displayed impact damage at their outboard ends; the vertical stabilizer and rudder displayed impact damage; and the rudder was partially separated from its mounting position. The landing gear was down, and the flaps were up. Both fuel caps were closed and locked. The fuel tanks were breached, and residual fuel was present in the bottom of the fuel tanks. The throttle control, propeller control, and mixture control were in the full forward positions. The cowl flaps were closed.

Examination of the 2-bladed propeller revealed that a portion of the propeller hub and one propeller blade remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange. The blade that remained attached to the hub exhibited "S" bending, twisting toward the blade face along the longitudinal axis, leading edge gouging, chord-wise scratching, and propeller tip curling of about 150° with an associated area of surface polishing near the curl. The separated blade exhibited chord-wise scratching and black-colored chordwise transfer marks near the propeller tip. The chordwise transfer marks and the tip curling and polishing were consistent with a propeller strike.

The engine remained partially attached to the firewall by fluid hoses and engine control cables. The exhaust tubing was partially crushed, and the muffler was crushed and separated from the engine. 

Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were confirmed on all four cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were observed using a lighted borescope, and no anomalies were noted. 

The fuel injector servo was impact-fractured across the throttle bore and separated from the engine. Fuel hoses and control cables remained attached to the servo. The servo throttle control arm was observed in the full throttle position. The servo mixture control arm was observed in the full rich position. The brass plug in the fuel regulator section cover was secure. No damage was noted to the rubber diaphragms or other internal components. The fuel inlet screen was absent of debris.

The fuel flow divider remained attached to the engine, and the injector lines were secure. No damage was noted to the rubber diaphragm or other internal components. The fuel injector nozzles were unobstructed.

The engine-driven fuel pump was impact fractured and partially separated from the engine. No damage was noted to the rubber diaphragms or internal check valves. Liquid with an odor consistent with aviation gasoline was observed in the engine driven fuel pump, the fuel injector servo, and the fuel flow divider.

The dual magneto installation remained attached to the engine and was impact damaged. The distributor block cover and both distributor blocks were fractured. Sparks from the coil to the distributor carbon brush were observed when the magneto drive was rotated by hand. The ignition harness was impact damaged, and the spark plugs exhibited dark gray combustion deposits and worn normal condition.

The starter and alternator remained attached to the engine and appeared to be undamaged. The alternator belt was present but broken. The vacuum pump also remained attached to the engine; no damage was noted to the composite drive assembly, carbon rotor, or carbon vanes.

No metallic debris was noted in the oil suction screen or between the folds of the oil filter media. The oil cooler hoses were secure. The oil cooler was impact-damaged.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Hunterdon County Medical Examiner, Flemington, New Jersey, performed autopsies on the pilot and passenger. The cause of death of both occupants was blunt force trauma to the body.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology results were negative for ethanol and drugs of abuse.

Additional Information

Recent Flight Experience

According to 14 CFR 61.57 (Recent flight experience: Pilot in command), no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days and acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls. Further, the required takeoffs and landings must be performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating was required).

Propeller Ground Clearance

According to 14 CFR 23.925 (Propeller clearance), unless smaller clearances are substantiated, with the airplane at the most adverse combination of weight and center of gravity, and with the propeller in the most adverse pitch position, a propeller clearance of at least 7 inches between each propeller and the ground with the landing gear statically deflected and in the level, normal takeoff, or taxiing attitude (whichever is most critical) must be provided. In addition, for each airplane with conventional landing gear struts using fluid or mechanical means for absorbing landing shocks, there must be positive clearance between the propeller and the ground in the level takeoff attitude with the critical tire completely deflated and the corresponding landing gear strut bottomed.

Review of engineering data for the M20J indicated that the propeller clearance exceeded the requirements of 14 CFR 23.925 under all conditions and that the most critical load condition for the airplane was at forward gross weight in either the level, level takeoff, normal takeoff, or taxiing attitude.

Review of the dimensional data in the three-view drawing of the airplane contained in the Mooney M20J Airplane Flight Manual and Pilot's Operating Handbook (AFM/POH) indicated that when the airplane was on the ground in a level takeoff attitude, propeller clearance from the ground was 9.5 inches. Further review of the data indicated that propeller clearance could be significantly reduced if the airplane was in a nose-down attitude during landing and touched down on the nose landing gear first, rather than touching down with the main landing gear first.

Go Around and Landing Information

According to the M20J AFM/POH, during a go-around (balked landing), the power should be increased to full throttle, and an airspeed of 75 mph (65 knots) indicated air speed (IAS) should be established initially. After the climb is established, the wing flaps should be retracted while accelerating to 84 mph (73 knots) IAS, and then the landing gear should be retracted. During landing, the airspeed on final approach should be 81 mph (71 knots) IAS with full flaps. Touchdown should be on the main wheels first, and then during the landing roll, the nose wheel should be gently lowered.

Review of the Mooney M20J Normal Landing Distances Chart contained in the POH revealed that when loaded its maximum gross weight, with an outside air temperature at 40°C (104°F) which would have been about 19°C higher than the temperature around the time of the accident, during landing, the airplane would have had a ground roll of 956 feet to 1,118 feet. Total landing distance over a 50-foot obstacle would have been 2,129 feet to 2,269 feet.

According to the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B), a normal approach and landing involves selecting a landing point that is normally beyond the runway's approach threshold but within the first third of the runway. Regarding touchdowns, the handbook states, in part:

Some pilots try to force or fly the airplane onto the ground without establishing the proper landing attitude. The airplane should never be flown on the runway with excessive speed. A common technique to making a smooth touchdown is to actually focus on holding the wheels of the aircraft a few inches off the ground as long as possible using the elevators while the power is smoothly reduced to idle. In most cases, when the wheels are within 2 or 3 feet of the ground, the airplane is still settling too fast for a gentle touchdown; therefore, the descent must be retarded by increasing back-elevator pressure. Since the airplane is already close to its stalling speed and is settling, this added back-elevator pressure only slows the settling instead of stopping it. At the same time, it results in the airplane touching the ground in the proper landing attitude and the main wheels touching down first so that little or no weight is on the nose wheel.

 NTSB Identification: ERA16FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 25, 2016 in Pittstown, NJ
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N526AM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 25, 2016, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N526AM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after an aborted landing at Sky Manor Airport (N40), Pittstown, New Jersey. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Pennridge Airport (CKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania, about 1200.

The pilot rented the airplane at the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87), Robbinsville, New Jersey. According to security camera video, he boarded the airplane alone and departed at 1121. The pilot then flew to CKZ, where he picked up the passenger, and then flew to N40.

Approximately 15 witnesses were interviewed, the majority of which were pilots that were at N40 on the day of the accident. Descriptions varied between witness statements as to the airplane's touchdown point on the runway; however, the preponderance of witness statements were that the pilot attempted twice to land on Runway 25.

During the first landing attempt, the airplane appeared to be about 20 knots too fast on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, and bounced during the touchdown. The pilot then aborted the landing, climbed out and joined the traffic pattern.

During the second landing attempt, the airplane was again fast on the approach, and it touched down approximately halfway down the runway on the nose wheel, then the main landing gear, bounced, and became airborne. It then touched down and bounced twice more, then touched down approximately 400 to 500 feet prior to the end of the runway, this time staying on the runway surface. Engine power was then heard to increase as the airplane approached the end of the runway. The airplane began to climb, but some witnesses commented that it did not seem that the engine was producing full power. During this climb, as it passed over a field that was surrounded by trees at the end of the runway, the airplane appeared to climb slowly. Then as the airplane approached the row of trees at the far end of the field, the airplane appeared to climb steeply over the row of trees. The airplane then abruptly banked steeply to the left, pitched nose down, and descended in a steep, nose down attitude until it disappeared behind the trees.

According to a witness who lived in close proximity to where the accident occurred, the airplane was observed to be very low and slow compared to many of other airplanes that he observed departing from N40. The airplane was then observed to rise slightly, pivot nose down, and then rapidly lose altitude before it was lost from sight behind a barn. According to another witness, while this occurred, the engine was heard to be operating. According to both of the witnesses, moments later the sound of an impact was heard.

Examination of the accident site and airplane revealed the airplane impacted in a nose down attitude and then came to rest against the base of a tree. During the impact sequence, a small tree was struck and knocked down. Propeller strike marks were visible on several of the tree limbs. The leading edge of the right wing displayed crush and compression damage from the tip to approximately mid-span, with the majority of the sheet metal being crushed and accordioned back to the wing spar. The trailing edge of the right wing root also displayed compression damage. The outboard panel of the left wing displayed crush damage and was bent back about 30 degrees.

The engine was separated from its mounting position and was found on the ground forward of the left side of the fuselage. The empennage was almost completely separated from the aft fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were wrinkled and displayed impact damage at their outboard ends. The vertical stabilizer and rudder displayed impact damage and the rudder was partially separated from its mounting position. The landing gear was down, and the flaps were up. Both fuel caps were closed and locked, and though the fuel tanks were breached, evidence of fuel was present in the form of residual fuel in the bottom of the fuel tanks. The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls, were all in the full-forward position. The cowl flaps were closed.

Examination of the two-bladed propeller revealed that one propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching. The other propeller blade also exhibited chordwise scratching, and S-bending. Further examination of the propeller blade revealed evidence of tip curling, with an associated area of surface polishing near the curl, consistent with a propeller strike.

Sky Manor Airport was located 2 miles southwest of Pittstown, New Jersey. It was uncontrolled and had one runway, in a 7/25 configuration. Runway 25 was asphalt, and in good condition. It was 2,900 feet-long and 50 feet-wide, and marked with non-precision markings in good condition.

Obstructions existed in the form of electrical transmission lines that crossed the approach path for Runway 25, approximately 99 feet above ground level, 2,070 feet from the beginning of the runway, 210 feet left of centerline. They were equipped with spherical high visibility markers, and took an 18:1 slope to clear.

An operational two-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) was installed on the left side of the approach end of the runway, which displayed a 4.00-degree glide path to provide pilots with guidance information to help acquire and maintain the correct approach (in the vertical plane) to the runway. Examination of the runway revealed fresh propeller strike marks, 1,747 feet from the beginning of Runway 25, approximately 4 feet, 11 inches, to the right of the runway centerline. Review of video recordings obtained from a security camera at N40 revealed that the airplane during the first landing attempt, at approximately 1219, touched down more than halfway down the length of the runway. Then on the second landing attempt, at approximately 1229, the airplane again touched down more than halfway down the length of the runway. Further review of the video recordings also revealed that the wing flaps were extended during both landing attempts.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 10, 2016. He reported on that date, that he had accrued approximately 185 total flight hours.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. The airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 13, 2016. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 4,690.3 total hours of operation. The engine had accrued approximately 100 hours of operation since major overhaul.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.