Friday, October 29, 2021

Mooney M20M / 257 TLS Bravo, N40KA: Fatal accident occurred October 28, 2021 in North Bend, King County, Washington

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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington
Lycoming Engines; Colorado

Another Greaser LLC

Location: North Bend, Washington
Accident Number: WPR22FA023
Date and Time: October 28, 2021, 09:10 Local
Registration: N40KA
Aircraft: Mooney M20M
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On October 28, 2021, about 0911 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20M, N40KA, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near, North Bend, Washington. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot filed an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan with a planned route from Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO), Arlington, Washington, to Magic Valley Regional Airport (TWC) Twin Falls, Idaho. A review of preliminary air traffic control (ATC) communications and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane departed AWO about 0842. The airplane subsequently climbed to 16,300 ft, then began a rapid descent to 11,300 ft with erratic turns. The airplane was over mountainous terrain approximately 47 miles southeast of the departure airport and descended through 5,400 ft when a simultaneous loss of radar and communication occurred, shortly after 0910. ATC services were provided by Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and Seattle Terminal Radar Airport Control (TRACON). This aircraft was the subject of an ALNOT.

The airplane wreckage was located in densely wooded mountainous terrain. The wreckage debris was about 21 ft in length and 15 ft wide. The northwest most point of the wreckage consisted of the engine, and propeller sections, which sustained impact and thermal damage. All three propeller blades were liberated from the hub and revealed signatures consistent with engine power during impact. The cabin and fuselage were consumed by post-impact fire. The vertical and horizontal stabilizer, rudder and elevator sections were present and formed the southwestern perimeter of the wreckage. The TKS system affixed to the leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizer were present. 

A review of the meteorological conditions that existed the day of the accident revealed instrument meteorological conditions. AIRMET Z was active for light to moderate rime icing, and clear ice conditions. PIREPS confirmed the icing conditions and low-level turbulence in the vicinity of the accident site.

The supplement to the pilot’s operating handbook and FAA approved airplane flight manual contained a warning that stated, “INTENTIONAL FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ICING IS PROHIBITED.”

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N40KA
Model/Series: M20M 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSEA,434 ft msl 
Observation Time: 09:02 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 29 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C /13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1300 ft AGL
Visibility: 3 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Arlington, WA (AWO)
Destination: Twin Falls, ID (TWC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 47.5923,-121.633 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290. 


  1. Icing appears to be the culprit.

    1. PIREPS from the area indicated icing conditions at 8K and he was in the Cascade mountains at the time, not a great combination. Flight track indicates a loss of navigation, possibly trying to get out of the ice or else fighting an airplane that was being loaded down with ice. It's unfortunately a common experience as we enter winter out here. The final hook could be a stall/spin. The Mooney pilots group has the FlightAware track.

    2. I agree. I was flying into SEA when Center lost communications with him. He was in a constant turn and had descended, triggering a low altitude alert. We got light-mod rime icing on the descent just north of where he went down. Condolences to the family and friends

    3. The flight began with pilot deviations that ATC was clearly unhappy about. It sounds like the controller decided not to write him up (passed down the line for a phone call on the ground) despite not getting an answer as to why it occurred, instead saying to just be aware of what he did for next time, but that makes me wonder about set-up and effective autopilot use, also. The communications as well as the track don't seem to indicate a readiness to perform flight in IMC/adverse conditions, at least in this type of airplane. It would be interesting to know what briefings were received from any source in advance as well as what kind of priming was done pre-flight for the possibility of icing encounters.

  2. My condolences to the family.

  3. That's strange. FlightAware shows the airplane climbing 8,000' in the last minute and a lot of directional changes. Maybe that is the software trying to merge the last known position with the filed flight plan. It looks to me that the airplane was turning back at the last moment.

  4. The abrupt climb may have been due to the updrafts from a thunderstorm.

  5. That pilot of that plane was my beloved first cousin. Thank you for your comments and consideration. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to all.

    1. Mooneyspace forum thread linked below includes postings on departure profile, recorded voice communications with controllers, icing reports and another pilot in the vicinity who heard on comm that the pilot was climbing toward 19K.

      A photo of the aircraft is discussed regarding what appears to be an installed capability to dispense TKS® fluid, which is intended to prevent ice from bonding to the aircraft, with varying effectiveness depending on the system and how it is operated.

    2. Mooney's supplement on operating a factory installed TKS system is linked below. Lots of information there about priming the panels in pre-flight, how to use the system and limitations.

    3. Dr. Dan, if you could send surviving spouse name and contact info to outreach AT, we can engage the Bill Gilliland foundation to help

  6. I talked to him minutes before he was to take off. He was very anxious on the phone and said “He had to go because he was just getting ready to take off and had to focus on the task at hand”. Condolences to his family.

  7. No mention that he apparently had just purchased the aircraft and was taking it home to Colorado. No record of pilot weather briefing with any online sources. Yet another needless tragedy. Aviation in general is very unforgiving to poor decision making. Condolences.

    1. From a Mooneyspace post by someone claiming to know the pilot:

      "He was excited about the de icing features on this plane."

      TKS on board was undoubtedly part of decision making. Taking risks during the acquisition flight home doesn't always have a happy ending.

    2. "Deicing or anti-icing? There is a huge difference.

    3. The TKS system visible in photos of the accident airplane is not a mystery. Here is an excerpt from the Mooney POH supplement linked up-thread, offered without comment on choosing to fly in known icing conditions:

      "The TKS Ice Protection System exudes ethylene glycol based fluid from: (1) porous panels attached over the airfoil leading edges, (2) a slinger ring on the propeller hub to “sling” the same fluid over rubber boots on each propeller blade and (3) a spray bar in front of the pilots windshield area to spray, upon demand, fluid to displace ice build-up."

      Link (repeated):