Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mooney M20J 201, N1149T: Fatal accident occurred February 13, 2020 near Bartow Executive Airport (KBOW), Polk County, Florida -and- Incident occurred March 24, 2016 at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark (7FL6), Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Lycoming Engine; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Mooney International Corporation; Kerrville, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Bartow, FL
Accident Number: ERA20FA101
Date & Time: 02/13/2020, 1125 EST
Registration: N1149T
Aircraft: Mooney M20J
Injuries:2 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 13, 2020, at 1125 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20J, N1149T, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on approach to Bartow Executive Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida. The private pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by OR & WIL LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the cross country 4-airplane formation flight that originated at 1045 from Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Florida.

According to flight-lead of the four-airplane formation flight, the accident pilot and his wife joined the flight at the last minute and were assigned the No. 4 position in the formation. The 4 airplanes (RV-9, RV-6A, RV8, and the accident airplane) flew in formation to BOW. Approaching BOW, the BOW air traffic tower controller instructed the formation flight to enter the right downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 23. The formation flew about 3 miles northwest of BOW and the flight-lead instructed the other pilots in the formation to "Go extended trail." All complied and were in-trail behind the flight lead. The formation flight was cleared to land on runway 23 shortly after the lead airplane entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, and the other airplanes entered the traffic pattern in trail. The lead airplane made a short base turn and it was expected that each airplane would make a later turn onto the base leg than the previous airplane, thereby further increasing the spacing between the airplanes. Airplanes Nos. 1, 2 and 3 made turns to the base and final legs of the airport traffic pattern. The pilot of airplane No. 3 stated that he maintained 70 knots on final approach. The 3 airplanes landed and waited for the accident airplane, which had already impacted terrain unbeknownst to them.

A witness working the ground control position at the BOW tower at the time of the accident reported that she looked up from her station and saw airplane No. 1 on short final, and airplanes Nos. 2, 3, and 4 (the accident airplane) were "very close" also on short final. From her perspective, airplanes No. 2, 3, and 4 appeared to be in a triangle formation; however, the accident airplane was inverted and descended straight down to the ground.

A witness on the ramp at BOW was watching the airplanes on final approach and observed what he thought was a "flight of 3." When he first observed the airplanes, they were lined up on final approach in trail of each other: airplane No. 1 was ready to touch down, airplane No. 2 was "a few hundred yards" in trail, and airplane No. 3 was over the airport property boundary. He watched airplane No. 1 "land long" then airplane No. 2 "land short." He then observed the accident airplane approaching airplane No. 3, which was on final approach, from the right at a 30-45° angle. The accident airplane's right wing "dipped severely attempting to avoid" airplane No. 3, followed by a steep left bank and then a vertical descent to the ground. He stated that the accident airplane was "closing in on airplane No. 3" and made a "sharp right turn to avoid a midair." A second witness at the airport reported a similar account and stated that the accident airplane was "going faster than the others."

A dashcam video from a vehicle traveling toward the final approach path of runway 23 captured airplane No. 3 established on final approach and the accident airplane in trail, in a right bank then steep left bank before it entered a nose down attitude and descended toward the ground.

A witness who resided near the accident location stated that she was inside her residence when she heard an airplane that "sounded different" and too low. She stated that the engine made "no noise, then sputtered twice," then "revved up" before she heard the impact.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued May 14, 2019, at which time he reported 1,580 total flight hours. Examination of pilot's logbooks revealed 45 flight hours in the previous 90 days and 16 hours in the previous 30 days, 3 hours which were in the accident airplane.

Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the airplane impacted a large tree before impacting terrain at a private residence about .6 statute mile from runway 23 at BOW. Branches of the tree displayed signs of impact directly above an impact crater in the concrete driveway. A ground scar associated with the left wing was oriented on a magnetic heading of about 090°, and the fuselage came to rest upright oriented on a magnetic heading of about 046°. All major airplane components were located on site. Both wings were impact-crushed aft, and there was no evidence of fire on any portion of the airplane. The left fuel tank was impact breached. The landing gear was determined to be in the UP position and the flaps were selected to 10°.

The engine and its accessories were examined. The engine was rotated using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were observed from all four cylinders. The left and right magnetos were removed, and sparks were observed on all towers when each magneto was rotated by hand. Examination of the engine's cylinders with a lighted borescope revealed no anomalies.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N1149T
Model/Series: M20J
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: BOW, 124 ft msl
Observation Time: 1055 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / 20 knots, 180°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
Destination: Bartow, FL (BOW)

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: 27.954167, -81.771389

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 

Lynn Spencer, Air Safety Investigator 
 National Transportation Safety Board


BARTOW — The Mooney M20J 201 plane that crashed into a northeast Bartow neighborhood on February 13th, claiming the lives of both occupants, belonged to the Spruce Creek Flying Club in the Daytona area, according to the National Safety Transportation Board.

“I want to express my condolences to the friends and family of those who were involved in yesterday’s accident here,” said Lynn Spencer, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator who briefed the media February 14th after arriving at the 4612 Weston Road crash site from her office in Washington, D.C.

Killed in the crash were the Port Orange couple of Bonnie and Dennis Powell, ages 73 and 76, respectively.

Noting the agency is in the “preliminary fact-finding investigation,” Spencer said the aircraft will be taken to a facility in Jacksonville for further examination by the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Lycoming Engines.

It appeared to be part of a four-aircraft formation flying into Bartow Executive Airport, Spencer said. She added that witnesses near the airport saw the formation and observed the Mooney M20J 201 nose-down in the final moments of the flight while still in formation with the two trailing aircraft.

“The aircraft impacted the ground in near-vertical altitude. We have located all four corners of the aircraft. We don’t believe weather played a role, but will be looking at that in our investigation,” she said.

A preliminary report will be finished in about 10 days, followed by a final report in 18 to 24 months, according to Spencer.

“The National Transportation Safety Board does investigate every civil aviation accident in the United States,” she said. “Our hope is that we can determine what happened so that we can perhaps prevent it from happening again and increase aviation safety in the United States.”

Spencer said that one of the things investigators will look at is how common it is to have that type of four-plane formation locally.

“We do know that some airplanes associated with the Spruce Creek Flying Club do this kind of formation flying,” she said, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board will also look at Federal Aviation Administration  regulations concerning such formations to make sure that it was a “legal” flight.

The flight’s lead aircraft was in communication with air traffic control at the Bartow airport, she said.

Around 11 a.m. Thursday, aircraft number one landed, followed by aircraft two and three. “They waited for aircraft number four. It had crashed,” Spencer said.

Another area of the investigation, according to Spencer, is the entirety of the aircraft’s history.

“We look at the man, the machine and the environment,” she said.

Spencer said it doesn’t appear at this point that the Powells’ plane touched any of the other aircraft in the formation before it crashed less than one mile from the airport.

She noted that key elements of the investigation will be interviews with witnesses, video footage that was provided and fuel stainage on lawns.

When asked if the Mooney M20J 201 has a flight or cockpit recorder, Spencer said that aircraft isn’t equipped with one, but investigators did retrieve equipment that will provide information as to the speed, the bank and the operation of the aircraft and the engine. The equipment will be taken to the National Transportation Safety Board recorders laboratory in Washington for examination.

Crash investigators and other officials used a crane to extract the remains of the plane wreckage and load it for transport to Jacksonville.

Original article can be found here ➤

Incident occurred March 24, 2016 at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark (7FL6), Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida 

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —A lawn care worker was clipped by a plane as it took off at a Port Orange fly-in community. The private plane hit the worker shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was struck by the plane's right wing as it was taxiing through the Spruce Creek neighborhood, deputies said. The man was taken to a local hospital after complaining of back pain. His injuries are non-like-threatening. The plane sustained minor damage to the wing.

Story and video:

Incident occurred March 24, 2016 at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark (7FL6), Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida 

(WESH) - A Florida man is recovering after he was struck by a landing plane. Part of the single-engine plane's wing was visibly damaged by the accident Thursday at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark near Port Orange.

Larry Kooney said his son, Larry Kooney, II, 42, is still in the hospital, recovering from the injuries. "He came and said, 'Larry just got hit by a plane,' and as a father, you know, my reaction was pretty distraught at the time," the elder Kooney said.

Kooney said there was no warning and that his son, who had his back to the plane and was wearing ear protection, never saw or heard the plane coming. He said he is thankful his son is alive. "There were several pieces of plexiglass on the ground which came off. That's how hard the plane hit him. It actually broke pieces of the plane," Kooney said.

Original article can be found here: 

Incident occurred March 24, 2016 at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark (7FL6), Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida

A landscape contractor working near a taxiway at Spruce Creek in Port Orange was taken to the hospital Thursday after being clipped by a plane, Spruce Creek Property Owners Association said.  The contractor was wearing a headset at the time, the Association said in an email to residents.

“SCPOA greatly urges all to stop, look, listen and be sure all is clear when near the taxiways,” the email said. “Please, please, please do not wear ear buds, earplugs, headsets or anything else that may impact your ability to hear aircraft.”  The contractor was unable to move after being hit and was taken to the hospital, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.  His condition was not immediately available.

Original article can be found here:


  1. Landing at the end of a formation flight requires that the rear aircraft not over run the forward aircraft. If fuel exhaustion or other power loss did not occur, the crash on approach could have been a simple matter of airspeed too low due to managing separation with the aircraft in front of them.

  2. Details from witnesses in the preliminary report describe the accident aircraft overtaking #3 on final approach. The challenge of this group arrival included coordinating speeds, separation and turn alignments between the flight characteristics of the #3 Vans RV-8 and #4 Mooney M20J while at low altitude and reduced airspeed during base and final.

    The preliminary report describes "last minute" join up with the activity but does not indicate whether the accident aircraft had ever practiced for this type of landing with the group of Rans. There are organizations and training guidelines available for formation flying, as discussed in the report on a 2017 formation accident involving Spruce Creek fliers: