Saturday, September 12, 2020

Mooney M20R Ovation 3 GX, N120GX: Accident occurred September 09, 2020 in Weston, Broward County, Florida

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida
Continental Aerospace Technologies; Mobile, Alabama


Location: Weston, FL 
Accident Number: ERA20LA327
Date & Time: September 9, 2020, 09:35 Local 
Registration: N120GX
Aircraft: Mooney M20R 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:

On September 9, 2020, at 0935 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20R airplane, N120GX, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Weston, Florida. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, the airplane had 6.5 quarts of oil and 65 gallons of fuel before departure for the 35-minute flight from Naples to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. About 20 minutes into the flight, at an altitude of 3,500 ft mean seal level, he “heard a loud pop and the prop sputtered and the engine started losing power.” He noticed that the oil pressure had decreased from 58-60 psi to 0 psi; however, all other engine gauges, including the oil temperature, were normal with the exception of a “larger than normal draw on the battery.” About 30 seconds later, part of the engine came through the top of the engine cowling, and the engine and propeller stopped completely. The pilot performed a successful forced landing to the right shoulder of an interstate highway where the airplane came to a stop. As the pilot and passenger prepared to disembark, a truck struck the airplane’s left wing from behind, and the airplane spun around 180°.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left aileron, the left wing trailing edge forward of the aileron, and the inboard trailing edges of both the left and right elevators. A hole was present on the top left side of the engine cowling and in the engine case near the base of the No. 6 cylinder. 

Metal debris, including a damaged connecting rod, its separated cap, a piston wristpin, a valve lifter and crankcase fragments, were found in the engine’s oil pan.

The engine had accrued a total of 1,166 hours since new and was installed when the airplane was manufactured in 2006. The most recent maintenance was a 40-hour oil change, about 38 flight hours prior to the accident flight, on July 10, 2020. The oil filter was opened and examined at that time with no anomalies noted. The most recent annual inspection was performed about 81 flight hours prior to the
accident flight, on May 29, 2020, with no anomalies noted. 

The engine was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney 
Registration: N120GX
Model/Series: M20R No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: FLL,11 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2300 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 15000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Naples, FL (FA37)
Destination: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FXE)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 26.14583,-80.520841 (est)

WEST BROWARD, Florida (WSVN) - A small plane has made an emergency landing in Alligator Alley in West Broward.

Two people were on board the plane when an emergency message was relayed to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport just before 10 a.m., Wednesday.

The plane took off from Naples and was headed to Fort Lauderdale when the pilot began to experience engine problems.

The plane ended up making an emergency landing at Mile Marker 41 instead of landing at the airport.

7SkyForce HD hovered over the scene where damage could be seen on the left wing of the small plane.

The wing was clipped by a landscape truck which resulted in the plane spinning and ending up off the road.

Police and fire rescue crews responded to the scene.

“They were facing some mechanical problems, and the pilot was able to safely land the airplane in the right emergency shoulder,” said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Yanko Reyes. “As he had landed the airplane, a truck was passing by on the right shoulder and struck the left wing causing the airplane to spin around.”

A man and a woman could be seen walking around the plane and taking pictures. It is believed the two individuals were the two who were on the plane. They appear to be OK.

“The pilot and passenger, as well as the driver of the truck, are well with no injuries,” Reyes said.

The cause of the plane’s engine problems is under investigation.


  1. If you look at some of the pictures of the front of the aircraft you will see there is a hole in the engine cowl on top and oil coming out of the front of the air vent. Indicative of a major engine failure with parts being ejected.

  2. I don't see that hole. Wouldn't there be oil streaks as well?

    1. You need to look on the web, there's a pic as Mr Young described.