NTSB Identification: FTW97FA032.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 01, 1996 in SAN LEON, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Mooney M20J, registration: N25LS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A witness observed the airplane in a 3 to 4 turn (360 degree) spin to the right with the engine pointing downward before the airplane impacted the water and a fire erupted. The pilot received a 2.1 hour check out including stalls. He wanted to fly the airplane solo before beginning his commercial pilot training and rented the airplane for the local flight. Numerous entries for stalls were entered in the pilot's logbook; however, there were no entries for spin training (not required by FAR's). The pilot logged 6.4 hours of simulated instrument flight and 0.8 hour in actual instrument conditions during the 90 days prior to the accident. Radar summary charts indicated precipitation intensity levels throughout the area with tops to 30,600 feet. Weather stations reported wind gusts to 25 knots. Cumulus and towering cumulus clouds with multiple cloud layers associated with a front prevailed throughout the area. Convective sigmet and Airmets were in effect for thunderstorm activity, IFR ceilings and visibility. VFR flight was not recommended away from the local airport. There was no evidence of an inflight fire. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any pre-impact discrepancies.

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

The pilot's inadvertent stall and spin of the airplane. Factors were the pilot's lack of total experience in the make and model of airplane and the weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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