Saturday, January 04, 2020

Mooney M20S Eagle, N602TF: Fatal accident occurred December 31, 2019 at Johnson County Executive Airport (KOJC), Olathe, Kansas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Mooney; Kerrville, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: OLATHE, KS
Accident Number: CEN20FA049
Date & Time: 12/31/2019, 1606 CST
Registration: N602TF
Aircraft: Mooney M20S
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 31, 2019, about 1606 central standard time, a Mooney M20S airplane, N602TF, impacted terrain during takeoff from runway 18 at the Johnson County Executive Airport (OJC), near Olathe, Kansas. A post-impact ground fire occurred. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the ground fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating from OJC at the time of the accident and was destined for the North Little Rock Municipal Airport, North Little Rock, Arkansas.

According to initial information given to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a witness reported that he witnessed a Mooney, N602TF, crash at OJC. He said that a couple from Little Rock, Arkansas flew up to view a new Piper airplane that was for sale. The witness stepped out to watch them take off back and return to their home base. On initial roll out, nothing out of the ordinary was noticed. During power-up all sounded and looked normal. However, the airplane rotated at a much slower speed than would be expected and immediately started to climb at a very sharp departure angle. As it gained altitude its airspeed bled off to the point that the left wing stalled causing the plane to nose over in that direction and continue its trajectory straight into the ground just east of the runway. Engine power was "on" through the entire flight with no odd sounds to be noted.

Review of video near the accident site was consistent with the witness statement. The airplane did not exhibit any fire or smoke inflight in the video. A ground fire was observed after impact. First responders subsequently extinguished the fire.

The 48-year-old pilot held a FAA private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. He held a FAA second-class medical certificate dated May 28, 2019, with no limitations. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported he had accumulated 180 hours of total flight time and 0 hours in the prior six months.

N602TF, a 2000-model Mooney M20S, was a single-engine, four-place, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane with serial number 30-0043. A review of FAA records showed the pilot and a co-owner purchased the airplane on November 26, 2019. The airplane did not receive any fueling services at OJC.

At 1553, the recorded weather at OJC was: Wind 270° at 10 kts gusting to 16 kts; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 6° C; dew point -8° C; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

The wreckage came to rest about 171° and about 2,550 ft from the departure threshold of runway 18. Major components of the airplane wire identified at the accident site. The top of the fuselage was consumed by fire between the instrument panel to just forward of the empennage. The lower section of the fuselage was discolored, deformed, and melted. The engine compartment exhibited aft migration of the engine against the firewall. The propeller was imbedded in terrain and when recovered, it exhibited "S" shaped bending and leading edge nicks. The empennage and fuselage aft of the cabin was bent laterally toward the left wing about 30°. The leading edge of the right wing exhibited aft crushing. The leading edge of the left wing exhibited discoloration, melting, and deformation. The position of the left main landing could not be determined due to the left wing's thermal damage. The right main landing gear was found partially extended. Flight control continuity from all the flight control surfaces to the cabin area was traced. The ignition key switch was selecting the BOTH position. The mixture, propeller, and throttle control knobs were in their forward position. Examination of the engine compartment confirmed control continuity of the mixture, propeller, and throttle control from their engine accessories to their respective cockpit controls. The airplane instrument panel was damaged by impact forces and thermal damage. The airplane's JP Instrument EDM 800 unit exhibited impact and thermal damage.

The Johnson County Coroner was asked to arrange an autopsy on the pilot and to have toxicological samples taken.

The engine is being retained for a disassembly examination and the EDM 800 unit will be shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorder Laboratory to see if it contains any data in reference to the accident flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N602TF
Model/Series: M20S 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: KOJC, 1070 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / 16 knots, 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: OLATHE, KS (OJC)
Destination: North Little Rock, AR (ORK)

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: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude: 38.846111, -94.736111 (est)

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

Col. Jonathan Vannatta
354th Civil Affairs Brigade Commander

352nd Civil Affairs Command

Col. Jonathan Vannatta, 354th Civil Affairs Brigade Commander, was killed in a single engine plane crash moments after takeoff from Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe, Kansas, around 4 p.m. December 31st. He was piloting the Mooney M20S Eagle with one passenger onboard, Ms. Darcy Matthews. Col. Vannatta took command of the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade during a ceremony in White Plains, Maryland, on August 4th, 2019.

"Colonel Vannatta will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Our deepest sympathies are with his family at this time," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Farris, commander, 352nd Civil Affairs Command.

Jonathan Vannatta 

OLATHE, Kansas (KCTV) – Two people died after a plane crashed at the Johnson County Executive Airport Tuesday afternoon in Olathe.

A Mooney M20S Eagle crashed shortly after taking off from the airport "under unknown circumstances," according to Tony Molinaro, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

A crash report from the Kansas Highway Patrol describes the fatal crash by stating:

"The aircraft ascended from the Johnson County Executive Airport runway. The aircraft went into the air and began to fall straight down. The aircraft landed in a field a short distance to the east of the runway. The aircraft caught fire. Two occupants were located deceased inside the aircraft."

The report also lists the victims as Jonathan J. Vannatta, a 48-year-old man from Maumelle, Arkansas; and Darcy L. Matthews, a 43-year-old woman from Belton, Texas.

The plane is registered with the Federal Aviation Administration to a man named Marvin Vannatta out of Shelbyville, Tennessee.

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