NTSB Identification: FTW97FA269.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 15, 1997 in SAREPTA, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/1999
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, registration: N777TU
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.

The VFR cross country flight was airborne for approximately 5 hours when the airplane impacted terrain in a hilly wooded area following a loss of engine power. The aircraft flight track was erratic with numerous heading and altitude changes and meandering in the vicinity of the Springhill NDB. The current Sectional Aeronautical Chart, found in the cockpit, showed the Springhill NDB at the airport. The NDB was found to be geographically located 3.8 miles south of the airport. Flight control and engine continuity were confirmed. Examination revealed that the integrity of the fuel system was not compromised. Twenty-three ounces of fuel were found in the left tank, zero ounces in the right tank, and 2 ounces in the fuel gascolator. An engine run did not produce any evidence that the engine was not capable of operating prior to the accident. The toxicology was positive for levels of 1.081 ug/ml methamphetamine detected in the blood and 6.293 ug/ml methamphetamine detected in the liver. At these levels, Dr. Canfield is of the 'opinion that the pilot would have been severely impaired.'

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

The pilot's impairment (drugs) resulting in his becoming disoriented and the ensuing loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Factors were the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing and the inaccurate navigation chart.

Full narrative available

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