Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mooney M20K, personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N5254G: Accident occurred December 21, 2017 at Venice Municipal Airport (KVNC), Sarasota County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Venice, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA058
Date & Time: 12/21/2017, 1900 EST
Registration: N5254G 
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 21, 2017, about 1900 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20K, N5254G, was substantially damaged during landing at Venice Municipal Airport (VNC), Venice, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. Night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that departed Darlington County Airport (UDG), Darlington, South Carolina. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated he departed Raleigh County Memorial Airport (BKW), Beckley, West Virginia, landed at UDG for fuel. He then departed for VNC and was receiving traffic advisory services from air traffic control (ATC). While on approach to VNC, he descended from 8,500 ft to 4,000 ft to get under a layer of scattered clouds. The pilot stated that he wasn't sure exactly when he moved the airplane's landing gear position selector, but that it was his normal procedure to extend the landing gear 10 miles from the destination airport in order to help slow the airplane.

He continued the descent and disengaged the autopilot. About 1,200 ft above ground level he was "dodging clouds" and heard the pilot of a Cessna request a "pop-up" instrument flight rules clearance to VNC from ATC because there was sea fog in the vicinity of the airport. The pilot then decided to descend further to stay under the clouds and fog. He was then advised by ATC to climb immediately to 2,000 ft and follow the Cessna into VNC. He stated while on approach he extended the flaps and used speed brakes to slow the airplane. He also reduced the throttle in order to avoid overtaking the Cessna. At that time the landing gear horn activated. He then applied a small amount of throttle and the horn stopped. The subsequent landing proceeded normally until just after the flare when the pilot heard a scraping noise. After the airplane came to a stop on the runway, the pilot shut off the electrical power and exited the airplane.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane and noted that the during the landing airplane had slid along the runway on its belly for about 400 feet before coming to a stop. The inspector noted substantial damage to the lower fuselage stringers, the propeller, and nose landing gear door. The landing gear circuit breaker was open, and the landing gear selector was in the down position. Both main landing gear were only extended about 1-inch out of their respective wing wheel wells. During recovery from the runway the airplane was placed on jacks and the landing gear was lowered using the emergency gear extension system without incident. Damage to the landing gear extension system prevented further functional testing.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He reported 216 hours of total flight experience. His most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on November 30, 2017.

The automated weather observing system at VNC was out of service at the time of the accident. The weather conditions reported at the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Sarasota, Florida, which was located about 21 miles north of the accident site, included wind from 280° at 4 knots, visibility 9 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 22° C, dew point 22° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of mercury.

When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated in part, "Divert to Sarasota where the weather was reported to be clear, no sea fog rolling about. By design, I had 2.5 hours of fuel remaining on board when I arrived at VNC, I did not need to land when I did."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 61, 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: 11/30/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/08/2017
Flight Time:  216 hours (Total, all aircraft), 43 hours (Total, this make and model), 216 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Registration: N5254G
Model/Series: M20K NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1988
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 25-1180
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/02/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2900 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4272.7 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-360 SER
Registered Owner: FLAT TOP ENERGY LLC
Rated Power: 210 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night 
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSRQ, 28 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 342°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  9 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: DARLINGTON, SC (UDG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Venice, FL (VNC)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1200 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 17 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 23
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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: 27.073889, -82.437222 (est)


  1. Lol ... If you don't like hearing that the gear warning horn is operating properly just add a little throttle.

    Glad he wasn't hurt ... Well, other than pride that is.

  2. "When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated in part, "Divert to Sarasota where the weather was reported to be clear, no sea fog rolling about. By design, I had 2.5 hours of fuel remaining on board when I arrived at VNC, I did not need to land when I did.""

    I am wondering how a diversion to another airport would have prevented this from happening at the other airport. The airplane had no clue .....

  3. Probably because he forgot to put gear down so after his grinding halt he put lever down and the loading on the gear pushing on runway popped the breaker.