NTSB Identification: CHI92FA195
Accident occurred Friday, July 03, 1992 in OCONTO FALLS, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/14/1993
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration: N231FW
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.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF THE 69-YEAR-OLD PILOT WERE VISITING AT HIS COTTAGE OVER THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY. THE PILOT'S STATED INTENTION WAS TO FLY HIS AIRPLANE TO PICK UP HIS GIRLFRIEND. THE FRIENDS REPORTED THEY OBSERVED THE AIRPLANE FLY 'LOW OVER THE BACK YARD IT STARTED GOING UP...AGAIN AFTER HE GOT OUT OF SIGHT...WE ALL HEARD LOUD BANGING, CRACKLING NOISES...' THE FRIENDS/RELATIVES REPORTED THE PILOT HAD MADE LOW PASSES OVER THE COTTAGE ON PREVIOUS OCCASIONS, BUT HE SEEMED LOWER THAN USUAL ON THIS PASS. THEY STATED: 'WE THOUGHT HE WAS PLAYING A JOKE ON US POSSIBLY WITH FIRE CRACKERS...' DAMAGE TO TREES AND WRECKAGE DEBRIS REVEALED THE AIRPLANES RIGHT WING IMPACTED A TREE ABOUT 75 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND. THE OUTBOARD SECTION OF THE RIGHT WING SEPARATED AND THE AIRPLANE DESCENDED THROUGH THE TREES, COMING TO REST INVERTED. POST-ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF PRE-IMPACT MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE CLEARANCE FROM OBSTRUCTIONS DURING A LOW PASS.

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