NTSB Identification: MIA97FA242.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 11, 1997 in CORAL SPRINGS, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: Mooney M20F, registration: N6417Q
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 passenger who is a A&P mechanic stated that about 5-10 minutes after takeoff while climbing through 1,000 to 1,500 feet on a northerly heading with the landing gear retracted, he first noted that the oil pressure dropped to zero then returned to the green arc. The airplane was at that time abeam the point where the airplane eventually crashed. The pilot noted this and began orbiting the area. He then heard a loud sound from the engine and while descending with the landing gear extended, the airplane descended into a man-made pond right wing low. The airplane then cartwheeled and sank in about 17-20 feet of water. The passenger exited the airplane out the main cabin door but the pilot did not escape. He was rescued about 12 minutes later but died in a hospital days after the accident. The airplane was recovered and examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 cylinder connecting rod and piston pin end plugs failed due to fatigue. Also, a particle was found in the oil passage way of the crankshaft for the No. 1 crankpin. The engine was last inspected in accordance with a 100-hour inspection about 39 hours, and 2 months and 10 days earlier. The engine was a factory new engine that was installed on July 21, 1993 in accordance with a Supplemental Type Certificate. Requests were made following the accident to examine the maintenance records; they were not provided. Copies of the maintenance records were first provided to the National Transportation Safety Board 1 year and 11 months after the accident, by the engine manufacturer. The engine manufacturer obtained copies of the maintenance records from an attorney related to the case. The Nos. 3 and 1 cylinder pistons were installed in the opposite cylinders.

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

The pilot's misjudging the distance vs. altitude resulting in the collision with the water short of the intended touchdown point of the rough field. Contributing to the accident was the total loss of engine power due to failure of the No. 3 cylinder connecting rod bearing for undetermined reasons and fatigue failure of the No. 3 cylinder connecting rod and piston pin end plugs.

Full narrative available

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