NTSB Identification: FTW98LA059.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 27, 1997 in STUTTGART, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Mooney M20F, registration: N2954L
Injuries: 4 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 reported that the cabin door popped open while in cruise flight approximately 10 minutes after takeoff. The pilot added that 'the airplane began to buffet and vibrate.' He further stated that 'the wind noise in the cabin made communications difficult' and the pilot's 12 year old son, who was seated in the right front seat, 'became excited and scared.' The pilot asked Little Rock Approach Control for a vector to the Stuttgart Municipal Airport to land and secure the cabin door. During arrival over the airport, the pilot circled the airport as he attempted to activate the pilot controlled runway lights by clicking on frequency 122.9; however, the pilot was unable to activate any of the runway lights. UNICOM frequency 122.8 MHz was listed as the published frequency to activate the runway lights. The pilot attempted to land on a runway that had been closed and abandoned for over 10 years; its surface was reported to have been partly torn off.

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

the pilot's failure to activate the runway lights, which led to his selection of a closed/abandoned runway for the landing. Factors relating to the accident were: the unlatched cabin door, and the lack of lighting conditions at dusk.

Full narrative available

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