Friday, October 25, 2019

Mooney M20A, N8354E: Fatal accident occurred October 24, 2019 in Summit Point, Jefferson County, West Virginia

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baltimore, Maryland

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Summit Point, WV
Accident Number: ERA20FA019
Date & Time: 10/24/2019, 1630 EDT
Registration: N8354E
Aircraft: Mooney M20A
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 24, 2019, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20A, N8354E, was destroyed after it impacted terrain in Summit Point, West Virginia. The airline transport pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was privately owned and was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport (MRB), Martinsburg, West Virginia, at 1619.

Several witnesses located about 0.3 mile north of the accident site observed the airplane flying from right to left (easterly) at a "low altitude." They described the motion of the airplane as erratic, with its wings "rocking slightly back and forth" while "holding its course." The airplane then banked to the right about 45° to 60° as it also turned right and descended out of view. One witness described the engine as initially sounding "low like at idle." Then the rpm increased for about 5 seconds, then the engine noise stopped as the bank angle increased, and just before or as the airplane began its turn and descent. A second witness described the airplane's speed as "slow" based on its motion relative to landmarks, and he believed the engine noise/speed was reduced after he noticed the wings were rocking. He thought the engine may have "sputtered, then come back a little" before the airplane went out of view. A third witness described the airplane in a nose high attitude, flying slowly while the tail oscillated or "wiggled." The witnesses estimated the airplane was about 200 ft above the ground before it began its turn and descent. None of the witnesses recalled seeing any of the landing gear. They further reported that they did not observe any smoke trailing from the airplane while it was in flight.

A review of preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tracking data revealed that the airplane departed MRB, flew south-southwest for about 7 nautical miles and climbed to an altitude of about 2,500 ft above mean sea level (msl). It then leveled off and established a groundspeed of about 110-115 knots. Shortly thereafter, the airplane turned to the southeast, gradually descended to about 2,000 ft and slowed to a groundspeed of 60 knots. Over the next 1 minute, the altitude and course remained relatively constant, and the groundspeed gradually decreased to about 46 knots. The airplane then turned right about 40°, descended to about 1,700 ft, and the groundspeed increased to 60 knots. It then turned back to the left and resumed its previous course. While at 1,700 ft, the airplane again remained on a relatively constant track, holding altitude, as the groundspeed reduced from 60 knots to 45 knots over a period of 35 seconds. The groundspeed continued to drop to 32 then 15 knots as the altitude decreased to 1,500 then 1,100 ft before the tracking data ended, with the last GPS position about 200 ft (laterally) southeast of the accident site. The last recorded data point showed that the airplane's groundspeed had increased to 70 knots. The terrain elevation at the accident site was about 630 ft msl.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane was partially consumed by a postimpact fire and the wreckage was spread over a 1.5-acre area of burned grass. All major components (or remnants of them) were present at the accident site. The debris path was 270 ft long and oriented on a heading of about 300° (true). The initial impact point was a 1.5 ft deep round crater with an 18 ft long impact mark radiating from the crater toward the left side of debris path. Small remnants of the left wing were found near the initial impact point. The left elevator tip weight was found about 5 ft along the debris path, 20 ft right of the path centerline. The propeller and hub were located about 40 ft along the path, on the centerline. Both propeller blades had a slight twist in them, one blade had some chordwise scratches on the front face at mid span, the other blade did not have any chordwise scratches. The spinner was crushed against the hub and was deformed in a twisted opposite the direction of propeller rotation.

Remnants of the right wing were found 130 ft along the path, about 30 ft right of centerline. The remnants were severely burned and primarily consisted of ash and wood fragments laid out in an outline of the wing and its structural components. The flap was separated and mostly consumed by fire. Most of the metal aileron control system push-pull tubes and bell crank remained in place from about near the wing root to the aileron horn. The right main landing gear was mostly intact and found in its retracted position.

Portions of the elevator, rudder and left and right aileron control tubes and linkages remained intact in the lower forward center section, each with fractures consistent with overload. Flight control continuity could not be confirmed forward of the rear seat.

All three aluminum fuel tanks were found separated from the airplane along the debris path. Two of the tanks were missing their filler necks which were found separately along the debris path with their fuel caps secure and seals in good condition. The cap and neck remained attached on the third tank, with the cap secure however the seal was partially consumed by fire and heat damaged.

The main wreckage was located 170 ft along the path on the centerline and was oriented on a heading of 281°. Only rear section of the airplane aft of the rear seat remained largely intact.

Burned remnants of the left wing, which consisted of the main landing gear, a portion of the wooden wing spar, and most of the aileron control system were found separated from each other near the right side of the main wreckage. The flight control tubes for the elevator, rudder, and trim system remained intact from the rear seat area to the control surface horns. Most of the airplane forward of the rear seat was consumed by fire or severely burned. The engine and forward section of the fuselage was found in place relative to the empennage but were inverted. The nose landing gear struts and axle were found in the retracted position; the tire and wheel were consumed by fire. Most of the cockpit panel and instruments were heat damaged and partially consumed by fire. Three steel weights, of the type used on farm tractors for counterbalance, were found near the remnants of the rear seat frame. Each weighed 44 pounds.

The engine came to rest inverted. All the exhaust tubes and most of the intake tubes were separated from each cylinder. The No. 3 bottom and Nos. 1 and 3 top ignition leads remained attached to their respective spark plugs, the remaining leads were broken in several places. The bottom spark plugs were removed and appeared "worn normal" when compared to the Champion check-a-plug chart. The No. 1 spark plug was dark/sooty in color. The No. 3 spark plug was oil soaked. The Nos. 2 and 4 spark plugs were dry and dark gray in color. A portion of the intake manifold and accessory gear cover were fracture separated from the engine, which exposed the accessory gears. The engine crankshaft was initially rotated by hand at the propeller flange using a lever and could be rotated about 10° in both directions. The accessory gears at the rear of the engine rotated slightly as the crankshaft was rotated. The propeller governor and oil pump were removed; both exhibited thermal damage and could not rotated by hand. After their removal, the engine crankshaft rotated freely by hand, and thumb compression and suction were attained on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was confirmed for each cylinder as the crankshaft rotated. Both magnetos were removed and could not be rotated by hand. The left magneto case was largely intact with some melting near the ignition leads. The case of the right magneto was partially melted, which exposed the internal components. The engine driven fuel pump was partially melted and could not be functionally checked.

The carburetor was fracture separated from the engine at the intake manifold. The throttle, mixture and carburetor heat controls remained attached at their respective control arms. The fuel inlet fitting was fracture separated. Some charred debris was present in the carburetor bowl, but no liquid remained. Both metal floats had some inward crush damage. The float mechanism and fuel inlet needle valve operated normally when the inlet was pressurized with air and the floats were moved up and down manually.

The low-wing, four seat airplane was manufactured in 1960. It was equipped with a Lycoming model O-360-A1A engine which produced 180 horsepower turning a constant-speed two-bladed metal propeller.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land and single-engine land. He also held a flight Instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single, multiengine, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued during May 2018, at which time he reported 25,430 hours of total flight experience. Additionally, he had applied for BasicMed and completed the course on July 2, 2019.

At 1653, the weather conditions at MRB, which was located about 9 miles north of the accident site included wind from 150° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles with clear skies, temperature 19° C, dew point 3° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N8354E
Model/Series: M20A 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: KMRB, 534 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 150°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Martinsburg, WV (MRB)
Destination: Martinsburg, WV (MRB)

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: 39.253056, -77.961111 

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

An “all-around good guy” pilot and his friend are being mourned after they died in a fatal airplane crash Thursday.

The pilot, Clinton Powers, 70, and his passenger, Randy Garcia, 67, were residents of Inwood, W.Va.

Powers was “an accomplished, extremely competent airline pilot, flight instructor and flight engineer,” Nic Diehl, executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority, wrote in a news release Friday.

“He was respected and well-liked by all of us here at the airport. He had flown the Boeing 757, 767 and YS-11 among other models and had even been a horse jockey in his past. He was a warm, thoughtful man and a joy to talk with.”

The private airplane was a 1960 Mooney M20A single-engine aircraft, numbered N8354E.

Powers kept the plane in a hanger at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport. Diehl said Powers brought it out for display during the airport’s Big Truck Community Play Day event in August.

“Even though dozens of pilots were invited to do so, Mr. Powers was one of a handful of pilots willing to display his aircraft for the benefit of children that day,” Diehl wrote. “He was an all-around good guy and a model airport tenant. He will be missed.”

According to Diehl, “Garcia was not a pilot but had an interest in aviation and would fly with Mr. Powers from time to time.”

Powers and Garcia took off Thursday from Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport near Martinsburg, according to Diehl.

The plane’s destination was not available.

The crash was reported at about 4:33 p.m. south of Martinsburg in the area of 629 Hawthorne Ave. in Summit Point, W.Va., according to Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Mike Mood.

The airplane wrecked in a field next to fruit trees at what is known as the Hawthorn Estate. Nearby residents reported seeing the plane coming in before it crashed and ignited in flames, Mood said.

The airplane was “on fire and fully engulfed” when Cpl. M.D. Gillmore of the West Virginia State Police Charles Town Detachment arrived on the scene, according to a WVSP news release.

“The fire ended up burning an approximate one acre grassy area around the scene,” the release states.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the West Virginia State Police are investigating.

NTSB Public Affairs Officer Eric Weiss said Friday that a full report on the crash, including findings, recommendations and a finding of probable cause, could take anywhere from 12 to 24 months.

Middlway Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Mike Mood said Thursday night that first units to arrive found fire in the field at the crash scene. Recent rainfall helped reduce the potential spread of the fire and it was under control within minutes, Mood said.

Clinton Terry Lee Powers, 70, of Inwood passed away on October 24th, 2019.

Born September 7th, 1949 in Denver, Colorado.

He flew for United Airlines for 35 years and after retirement continued to fly.

He is survived by his wife, Paola Araujo Almeida; two daughters, Bronwyn Powers and Daniela Powers; one son, Jameson Powers; and three grandchildren, Kyzeah, Brayden, and Kyzen.

His love and devotion for flying and his presence will be sorely missed by friends and family.

Services and interment are private.

SUMMIT POINT,  West Virginia. — Two Berkeley County residents died in a single-engine plane crash in southern Jefferson County on Thursday, West Virginia State Police said.

The pilot, Clinton T. Powers, 70, and passenger, Randy Garcia, 67, both of Inwood, West Virginia, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. 

They were flying in a Mooney M20A that crashed in the area of 629 Hawthorne Avenue in Summit Point, West Virginia, about 4:33 p.m., according to Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Mike Mood.

The crash occurred in a field next to fruit trees, and area residents reported seeing the plane before it crashed and ignited in flames, according to Mood.

The private plane’s destination and origin were not available.

There are two private air strips about 1½ miles from the crash site between Summit Point Raceway and Clear Brook, Va., Mood said.

The West Virginia State Police are investigating the crash along with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The fire chief estimated that the debris field at the crash site stretched 150 to 200 feet.

State police said that the fire from the crash burned approximately one acre of grassy area around the scene. 

Mood said that emergency authorities cleared the scene shortly after 7 p.m.

Emergency crews responding to the scene included Middleway Volunteer Fire Co, Citizens Fire Co., Independent Fire Co., units from Clear Brook and Berryville, Va., Jefferson County Emergency Services, Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Department, Summit Point Raceway emergency personnel, Bakerton Volunteer Fire Co., Air National Guard 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia State Police and the state medical examiner’s office.

Original article ➤  

SUMMIT POINT, West Virginia (FOX 5 DC) - Two men are dead after a small plane crash in West Virginia.

Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty said the Mooney M20A went down in the 600 block of Hawthorne Avenue in Summit Point about seven miles southeast of Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport at around 4:36 p.m. Thursday.

West Virginia State Police identified the victims as 67-year-old Randy Garcia and 70-year-old Clinton T. Powers, both of Inwood. 

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

Original article can be found here ➤

SUMMIT POINT – Two people are dead after a small private plane crashed into a field at Hillbrook Orchard located off of Hawthorne Avenue in Summit Point Thursday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., authorities said.

Chief Mike Mood of the Middleway Volunteer Fire Department and Sgt. Meeks of the West Virginia State Police confirmed the fatalities. Police identified the victims as the pilot, Clinton T. Powers, 70, of Inwood, and his passenger Randy Garcia, 67, of Inwood. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Meeks, when the state police arrived at the scene, the 1960 Mooney M20A fixed wing single-engine aircraft was on fire and fully engulfed.

Several local crews were dispatched to the scene, including Middleway Volunteer Fire Department, Independent Volunteer Fire Department, Citizens Volunteer Fire Department, Bakerton Volunteer Fire Department, Summit Point Raceway personnel, Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, Jefferson County Emergency Services and the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

The cause of the crash is still unconfirmed and will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration with assistance from State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board, who will begin assisting with the investigation today.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. I seen them doing what appeared to be barrel rolls and engine stalls at approximately 2 PM. I reside in the Happy Creek subdivision of Middleway, Jefferson County, West Virginia.

  2. You can contact your local sheriff office and they can take a statement or put you in touch with the FSDO or NTSB.

    Bad news ... May the guys RIP