NTSB Identification: FTW98FA088.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 07, 1998 in VERNON, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/14/2001
Aircraft: Mooney M20K, registration: N231DS
Injuries: 2 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 single-engine airplane was established at a cruising altitude of 12,000 feet MSL. The instrument rated commercial pilot requested a descent to a lower altitude and was given clearance to descend to 10,000 feet by ATC. After the pilot acknowledged the clearance, radar contact and voice communications from the aircraft were lost. No distress calls were received from the aircraft. The wreckage of the airplane, which had impacted the ground in a near vertical attitude, was found by a search and rescue helicopter in an open field. Several aural witnesses, located near the accident site, reported hearing a very loud engine noise followed by silence. Several residents in the vicinity reported the local weather to be foggy, with freezing rain, and low clouds. The aircraft, which was not equipped for flight in icing conditions, was operating within the boundaries of a current weather advisory, which called for rime icing in the clouds below 8,000 feet. No mechanical anomalies were found during examination of the wreckage. Pilots flying various types of aircraft in the vicinity of the accident site had reported light to moderate icing in the clouds from 16,000 feet to 4,000 feet. According to the NTSB meteorologist, it was likely that the pilot could have encountered IMC conditions with light to moderate icing.

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

the loss of control during cruise flight for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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