Sunday, April 12, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Mooney M20J 201, N201FD; accident occurred June 19, 2018 at Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport (EQY), Monroe, Union County, North Carolina

View of Initial Ground Scars on Runway 23
Federal Aviation Administration

View of Ground Scars in Infield Grass
Federal Aviation Administration

View of Airplane as Found Facing Intended Landing Direction
Federal Aviation Administration

Photo of undamaged device.

View of back of engine data monitor.

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

Additional participating entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Monroe, NC
Accident Number: ERA18LA172
Date & Time: 06/19/2018, 1350 EDT
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 19, 2018, at 1350 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N201FD, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a missed approach to runway 5 at Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport (EQY), Monroe, North Carolina. The private pilot was not injured, and the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which departed Jim Hamilton L. B. Owens Airport (CUB), Columbia, South Carolina about 1245, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said the purpose of the flight was to practice instrument approaches at three different airports, and then return to CUB; his home airport. The pilot-rated passenger, who was not instrument rated, accompanied him as a "safety pilot."

According to the pilot, he had completed the ILS RWY 5 instrument approach procedure at EQY (682 feet elevation) to near decision altitude and initiated the missed approach with a climbing right turn, when about 600 feet above ground level (agl), "the engine suddenly started to falter."

The pilot visually checked the mixture, throttle, propeller, and fuel pump settings and turned left for a forced landing on runway 23. The pilot maneuvered the airplane over trees and buildings on the airport perimeter towards the runway "just above" stall speed. As the airplane neared the landing surface heading about 270 degrees and about 8 feet agl, the airplane stalled, landed hard on the paved surface, and continued into the grass between the runway and parallel taxiway.

In a telephone interview, the pilot-rated passenger provided an account consistent with the pilot's. Prior to the approach, he said the pilot consulted his approach checklist. At the end of the approach segment, he estimated the airplane was 200 feet above the runway, but not less than 100 feet.

The pilot applied full power, and initiated a climbing right turn about 45-degrees off the runway heading. The airplane climbed at 85-90 knots at 1,000 ft per minute for about 10 seconds when the "engine went to idle." The pilot declared an emergency over the radio and pushed the throttle and mixture controls full forward, "even though they were already there." "We had just enough energy – altitude and airspeed – to nearly complete a 180 degree turn in the opposite direction from the point where we lost power which would have required about 600 to 800 feet AGL. I did not look at the altimeter."

"The airplane stalled about 6-8 feet above the ground and hit the edge of the runway at about a 45-degree angle, wings level, and skidded into the grass with pieces of the airplane and landing gear passing us as we slid."

The pilot-rated passenger believed the airplane was over the runway when the missed approach was initiated and stated that because they had completed a 45-degree right turn and were about 10 seconds into the climb, there was "no way" the airplane could have landed on the remaining runway. The runway was behind them, and they were headed away from it. He added that the few seconds of the climb were what allowed the pilot just enough altitude to reverse course, clear obstacles, and land in the direction of the opposite runway.

A JPI Engine Data Monitor was recovered from the airplane and downloaded. The unit recorded engine parameters at 6 second intervals, and GPS position and altitude parameters at varying intervals, typically 18 to 24 seconds. Some airplane positions referenced in this report were estimated by interpolation of GPS groundspeed and elapsed time.

GPS track data recovered from the engine monitor depicted a track consistent with the approach described by the pilot. According to that data, the airplane was at 965 ft, about 0.8 miles prior to the threshold of the 7,001-ft runway, aligned with the runway centerline, when a full-power climb along the right side of the runway was initiated.

About 25 seconds later, over the paved surface about 0.2 miles prior to the displaced threshold at an altitude of 1370 ft, the fuel flow and engine RPM decreased rapidly (16 GPH to 6 GPH, 2,600 RPM to 2,000 RPM). The airplane's climb was arrested and approximately abeam the displaced threshold, the airplane entered a descending right turn. About 30 seconds into the descent, the last GPS position was recorded about 3,200 feet down the runway, 1,100 feet right of centerline, at an altitude of 1,023 ft. The recorded data ended about 36 seconds later and did not depict the course reversal likely due to the GPS data update rate.

According to the ILS or LOC RWY 5 approach at EQY, the published missed approach procedure was, "Climb to 1500 then climbing right turn to 3000 on heading 200°…"

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 3rd class medical was issued March 20, 2017. The pilot reported 772 total hours of flight experience, of which 137 were in the accident airplane make and model.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed April 4, 2018 at 5,391 total aircraft hours. According to the Owner's Manual, the published stall speed for the airplane with flaps retracted was 63 knots. The best glide airspeed at 2,500 pounds was 88 knots.

At 1353, the weather recorded at EQY included scattered clouds at 7,000 feet and variable winds at 4 knots. The temperature was 36°C, and the dew point was 19°C. The altimeter setting was 29.96 inches of mercury.

Examination of photographs revealed substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

Following the accident, and under the supervision of an FAA aviation safety inspector, electrical power was applied, and an engine start was attempted at EQY. The engine rotated when the starter was actuated, but the start attempt was unsuccessful. While troubleshooting, compression was confirmed on each cylinder using the thumb method, fuel delivery was confirmed, and spark was confirmed at the top spark plugs for cylinders 1 and 3, and the bottom spark plugs for cylinders 2 and 4. Subsequent start attempts were also unsuccessful. The engine exam was suspended, and the airplane was scheduled for recovery from the site and further examination.

An NTSB investigator examined the airplane and attempted an engine start on the airframe utilizing the airplane's own battery and fuel system. Both wing tanks were "full" of fuel, and the electric fuel boost pump was used to prime the engine. An engine start was attempted using a "flooded engine procedure" as described by a Lycoming representative. With the mixture off, and the throttle full forward, "the engine turned over 7-10 times before it started. Mixture was then placed in full forward position and the engine was run at idle for several minutes to warm up. The engine RPM was then increased to about 2000 RPM and [the engine] ran well." The engine was stopped and restarted several times using the same procedure. The engine ran smoothly and continuously each time without interruption.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/20/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/04/2017
Flight Time:  772 hours (Total, all aircraft), 137 hours (Total, this make and model), 661 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Registration: N201FD
Model/Series: M20J NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 24-0168
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/04/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2899 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 6 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5391 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO360 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 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: KEQY, 679 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 123°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 36°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: COLUMBIA, SC (CUB)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Monroe, NC (EQY)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1245 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 682 ft
Runway Surface Condition:Dry 
Runway Used: 23
IFR Approach: ILS
Runway Length/Width: 7001 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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: 35.017500, -80.621944

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