NTSB Identification: ATL85FA157.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 28908.
Accident occurred Saturday, May 11, 1985 in COVINGTON, TN
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N5765K
Injuries: 3 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.

AFTER TAKEOFF, THE FLT PROGRESSED NORMALLY, EXCEPT ONE ARTCC CONTROLLER HAD DIFFICULTY COMMUNICATING WITH THE PLT DURING THE EARLY PART OF THE FLT. AFTER CRUISING AT 11,000 FT FOR APRX 2 HRS, THE PLT OBTAINED UPDATED WX INFO & REQUESTED CLEARANCE TO DESCEND TO 9000 FT TO AVOID BUILD-UPS. HE WAS CLEARED TO DEVIATE & DESCEND AT HIS DISCRETION & HE ACKNOWLEDGED. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, RADAR & RADIO CONTACT WERE LOST. AN IN-FLT BREAK-UP OCCURRED & THE WRECKAGE WAS SCATTERED OVER A WIDE AREA. THE HORIZONTAL STABILIZERS WERE FOUND APRX 2-1/2 MI FROM THE MAIN WRECKAGE. THERE WAS EVIDENCE THAT THEY HAD FAILED IN A SLIGHT UP & REARWARD DIRECTION. NO PRE-ACCIDENT FAILURES WERE FOUND. WX DATA SHOWED THAT THE ACFT LIKELY PENETRATED THE EDGE OF A STRONG (VIP LEVEL 3) THUNDERSTORM WITH SEVERE TURBULENCE, RAIN & UP/DOWNDRAFTS. A CHECK OF THE PLT'S BLOOD SHOWED A SMALL AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL (0.05%); HOWEVER, THE AMOUNT DUE TO POSSIBLE PUTREFACTION OR CONTAMINATION WAS NOT DETERMINED.

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

DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF AIRCRAFT..EXCEEDED

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

FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER..CONTINUED..PILOT IN COMMAND



Contributing Factors

IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION..IMPROPER..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..THUNDERSTORM


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..RAIN


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..DOWNDRAFT


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..TURBULENCE(THUNDERSTORMS)

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