Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Mooney M20C, N6796N: Fatal accident occurred December 31, 2021 in Marana, Pinal County, Arizona

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; Scottsdale, Arizona 
Lycoming Engines; Phoenix, Arizona

Location: Marana, Arizona 
Accident Number: WPR22FA073
Date and Time: December 31, 2021, 13:30 Local 
Registration: N6796N
Aircraft: Mooney M20C 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 31, 2021, about 1330 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20C, N6796N, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Marana, Arizona. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal

Family of the pilot reported that he had departed Marana Regional Airport (AVQ), Marana, Arizona, on December 31, 2021, with an intended destination of French Valley Airport (F70), Murrieta/Temecula, California. Flight Service was notified by concerned family that the pilot had not arrived at the French Valley Airport and was 5 hours overdue. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) shortly after. The airplane wreckage was located by a Search and Rescue air unit the morning of January 4, 2022. There are no known witnesses to the accident sequence.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted open desert terrain about 56 miles northwest of the Marana Regional Airport at an elevation of 2,162 ft mean sea level. The wreckage debris path was about 960 ft. in length, and oriented on a heading of about 308°. All major structural components were observed throughout the debris path.

The AVQ airport’s automated weather observation station reported that, at 1335 mountain standard time, the wind was from 080° at 8 knots, visibility of 10 statute miles, ceiling broken at 3800 ft agl, overcast at 9000 ft agl, temperature of 19°C and dew point temperature of 10°C, altimeter setting of 29.54 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N6796N
Model/Series: M20C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAVQ, 2031 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C /10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 80°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3800 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.54 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point:  Marana, AZ 
Destination: Temecula, CA (F70)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.691664,-112.12789 (est)

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

Randy K. Donnarumma

A pilot was found dead on Monday afternoon a few days after their plane crashed within the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Lauren Reimer, a spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, told The Arizona Republic on Tuesday that the single-engine plane left Marana Airport about 11:30 a.m. on December 31 and was enroute to Riverside, California, shortly before crashing.

Law enforcement found the pilot, who was dead, and the plane wreckage about 3:30 p.m. Monday. 

Reimer said weather appeared to be a factor in the crash and that the National Transportation Safety Board would continue the investigation.

Multiple agencies, including the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Tohono O’odham Police Department and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, took part in the search, Reimer added.


  1. Weather radar archive doesn't show returns for any track leaving Marana Regional Airport (KAVQ) near Tuscon at 11:30 AM that ended within the Tohono O’odham Nation and Pinal county response area.

    The TO Nation's boundary is about 90 statute miles west of KAVQ, 60 miles if a NW track. At normal Mooney travel speeds, weather in the first 45 minutes after departure would be relevant.

    11:30 AM:
    11:44 AM:
    12:00 Noon:
    12:16 PM:
    12:30 PM:
    1:00 PM:
    1:30 PM:

  2. The registration issues make you wonder if this will turn out to be a ferry flight failure when paperwork details catch up.

  3. Lovely airplane, one of my top three a/c which I have flown. RIP

  4. Looks like CAP found it... https://www.cap.news/cooperation-tenacity-technology-first-2022-mission-leads-to-arizona-crash-site-find/?fbclid=IwAR2OP4umBol49IiGlip7nJoWhE4snhbw6uJjxlihwtb8WDMQL_a6BOa7wMk