Sunday, July 18, 2021

Hard Landing: Mooney M20J, N58066; accident occurred July 18, 2020 at Block Island State Airport (KBID), Washington County, Rhode Island

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Unicorn Aviation Inc

Location: Block Island, Rhode Island
Accident Number: ERA20CA264
Date & Time: July 18, 2020, 18:05 Local 
Registration: N58066
Aircraft: Mooney M20J
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


Following an uneventful flight, the pilot was landing the airplane at the destination airport. When the airplane touched down, he “experienced and issue” with the right main landing gear. The airplane then veered off the right-side of the runway. The pilot applied corrective rudder inputs to bring the airplane back toward the runway centerline, but it continued past the centerline and off the left side of the runway. The pilot then applied the brakes but found that there was “no action.” The airplane came to rest off the left side of the runway.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed the nose landing gear had sheared from the fuselage and the main landing gear had collapsed. The propeller was damaged, and the lower fuselage was substantially damaged. The right main landing gear trunnion rod was pushed up and through the top of the right wing. Further examination of the right main landing gear revealed the two front support tubes for the landing gear's shock absorbers were both broken at the base where they attach to the shock absorber assembly. The brakes appeared new and no defects were noted. The right tire spun freely and exhibited two flat spots, one of which was through the tire cord, rupturing it. The tire also displayed rubbing and scuffing marks that were off-axis relative to the direction of travel. Skid marks on the runway were consistent with the damage observed on the right main landing gear tire. Given the damage observed to the right main landing gear, it is likely that the pilot landed the airplane hard. The damage to the landing gear likely resulted in the subsequent loss of control and runway excursion.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A hard landing and subsequent loss of control.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 13, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: January 4, 2019
Flight Time: 550 hours (Total, all aircraft), 391 hours (Total, this make and model), 550 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N58066
Model/Series: M20J No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1985 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 24-1541
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 1, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2645 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 9 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7271 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A3B68
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BID,107 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 17:56 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 220° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hartford, CT (HFD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Block Island, RI (BID) 
Type of Clearance: VFR flight following
Departure Time: 17:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Block Island State BID 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 107 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 28 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2502 ft / 100 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop

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: 41.168056,-71.577774


  1. Funny...pilot never mentioned a thing about pranging it in on landing...the issue with the right main gear that he mentions was the fact that is was pounded through the bottom of the wing.

  2. The upper prop blade isn't bent like the lower blade. Not turning upon landing?

    1. More likely event was that once he realized he was going off the runway he shut the engine down or it was in the process of shutting down and the power down residual rotation was stopped by the ground strike. The Mooney has a low prop clearance to begin with so it doesn't need much help to hit the ground in an unprepared field.

  3. With nearly 400 hrs in type the pilot should know that you fly it on with a bit of power like a twin. He definitely dropped this one in.
    The fact that one prop is as much broke as is bent and that both props are at a near featured pitch points to a sudden engine stop when the nose gear broke. The forward slant of the “good” prop also indicates a bent crankshaft. That engine is toast.

    1. That is exactly my thought. The engine stopped immediately but my question is did he shut it down while still rolling realizing he was going off the runway. That's another possibility that would explain the near full feather. If that is the case, then the engine may still be good if it was just spinning down after shutoff.