NTSB Identification: CHI95LA312.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 02, 1995 in IRONWOOD, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/1996
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N7171U
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that immediately after liftoff the passenger asked him if he wanted the map. The pilot told the passenger that he would need it, but not right now. The passenger then placed the map between the seats for the pilot's future use. The pilot reported that as he tried to retract and lock the landing gear with the gear handle, he noticed that the handle would not lock down into place because the map was in the way. The pilot stated he released the handle, threw the map in the back seat, and reached for the handle again. In the meantime, the landing gear had lowered, the airplane pitched down and impacted the runway. The pilot's recommendation as to how the accident could have been prevented was: 'By not taking my eyes off [the] runway.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to his diverted attention.

Full narrative available

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