Monday, October 18, 2021

Landing Gear Collapse: Mooney M20C, N669GJ; accident occurred October 17, 2021 at Lynchburg Regional Airport (KLYH), Campbell County, Virginia

Aviation Accident Final 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; Richmond, Virginia

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia 
Accident Number: ERA22LA020
Date and Time: October 17, 2021, 12:15 Local
Registration: N669GJ
Aircraft: Mooney M20C 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear collapse
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that he extended the landing gear while performing a 360º turn to lose altitude on final approach and verified that it was down and locked. Upon landing, the landing gear retracted, and the airplane skidded to a stop on the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage. A witness waiting to depart stated that the landing gear was down and the airplane appeared to land harder than usual in the gusting conditions. The airplane bounced twice, and on the second bounce, while the airplane was airborne, the landing gear retracted into the up position.

Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the gear lever was in the retracted position and the landing gear functioned normally.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He stated that on a previous flight, the landing gear lever became unlatched and during all subsequent flights, he would forcefully jerk on the lever to ensure it was latched.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The uncommanded landing gear retraction following a hard landing for reasons that could not be determined. 


Aircraft Gear extension and retract sys - Unknown/Not determined

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Landing gear collapse (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 77, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: BasicMed Last FAA
Medical Exam: April 16, 2021
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: February 8, 2020
Flight Time: 850 hours (Total, all aircraft), 154 hours (Total, this make and model), 730 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Age:, Female
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney 
Registration: N669GJ
Model/Series: M20C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1961 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 1946
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: December 21, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2575 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 30 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4356 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1D
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 180 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: LYH,938 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:54 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 337°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Jasper, GA (JZP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Lynchburg, VA 
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 09:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 938 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04
IFR Approach: Visual
Runway Length/Width: 7100 ft / 150 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop;Straight-in

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: 37.318374,-79.205609(est)

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