Saturday, December 26, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Mooney M20J 201, N5765H; accident occurred November 10, 2019 near Northeast Florida Regional Airport (KSGJ), St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Capital Sightseeing LLC

Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Accident Number: ERA20LA033
Date & Time: November 10, 2019, 09:20 Local 
Registration: N5765H
Aircraft: Mooney M20J 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On November 10, 2019, about 0920 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20J, N5765H, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a marsh, while on approach to Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), Gainesville, Florida, about 0820.

The pilot reported that he was repositioning the airplane from the facility that performed the annual inspection, back to his home airport. While on an extended base leg of the airport traffic pattern for runway 31, he reduced airspeed from 100 to 95 knots and then increased engine power to maintain 95 knots. At that point, the engine began to surge for several seconds, followed by a total loss of engine power. The pilot verified that the fuel boost pump was on, the mixture was rich and the fuel selector was positioned to a correct fuel tank. The pilot also checked both magnetos with no success. He then retracted the landing gear for better glide performance but realized that the airplane would not glide all the way to the runway. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a marsh about 1 mile prior to the runway threshold.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that it came to rest upright, mostly submerged in shallow water. The inspector noted damage to the right wing and empennage. Once the wreckage was recovered to shore, the inspector observed the fuel selector positioned to the right main fuel tank and about 20 gallons of 100-low-lead aviation gasoline was drained from the right main fuel tank. Water was drained from the left main fuel tank. The water had a smell of fuel, but the inspector did not observe any 100-low-lead aviation gasoline mixed with the water.

The airplane was examined again by an FAA inspector at a recovery facility. A visual inspection of the engine did not reveal any obvious defects and it exhibited corrosion due to submersion in brackish water. The fuel injector divider was opened and no fuel was found; however, a white crystalized power similar to salt was observed, consistent with the submersion in brackish water. Each individual fuel injector was removed and inspected. All the injectors exhibited evidence of the white crystalized powder and no blockages were found. The top spark plugs and ignition leads were removed and no anomalies were observed. The air filter and air box were also examined and no anomalies were observed.

The engine was subsequently examined by a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. Visual inspection of the engine and propeller did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The rocker arm covers were removed and no anomalies were noted. The spark plugs were removed and appeared gray in color. A lighted borescope was used to inspect the cylinders and valves, with no anomalies noted. The propeller was rotated by hand and thumb compression was established on all cylinders. The magnetos and fuel pump were corroded and could not be tested.

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane was manufactured in 1984. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360, 200-hp engine equipped with a three-blade, constant-speed, Hartzell propeller. Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 30, 2019. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 3,398.4 total hours of operation and engine had accumulated 1,610.8 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 1 hour from the time of the most recent. annual inspection, until the accident, which was the accident flight.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial 
Age: 44,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument airplane; Instrument helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: July 27, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 17, 2019
Flight Time: 6700 hours (Total, all aircraft), 700 hours (Total, this make and model), 5580 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 112 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 74 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N5765H
Model/Series: M20J No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1984 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 24-1480
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: October 30, 2019 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2740 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 1 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3293.4 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A3B6D
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 200 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SGJ,10 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 09:41 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 310°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / Turbulence Type
Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 350° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Gainesville, FL (GNV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: St. Augustine, FL (SGJ) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 08:20 Local
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Northeast Florida Regional SGJ
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 10 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7997 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 29.941389,-81.317779 (est)

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