NTSB Identification: SEA02LA031.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 19, 2002 in Glasgow, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Mooney M20E, registration: N38AJ
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 initiated his takeoff on runway 12 in the Mooney M20E and rotated at 60-65 MPH. He then raised the manually operated landing gear but had difficulty securing the gear retraction handle in the down (gear up and locked) position. During this event he became distracted with securing the gear in the up and locked position and the aircraft transitioned to a nose high and slow airspeed condition. A witness observed the aircraft reaching no more than 40-50 feet in altitude and rolling left. The pilot recognized this condition and pitched the nose down to increase airspeed. The aircraft impacted off the left side of the runway with its right wing, skidding across the runway and coming to rest on the south side of the runway; and the right wing displayed aft and upward bending with 45 degree scratch markings on its underside. Post crash examination revealed the gear retracted but not in the up and locked position. Wings level stall speed for a takeoff flap setting (15 degrees) in the M20E was documented in the Owner's Manual as 64 MPH.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate flying airspeed resulting in a stall/mush condition and loss of control at low altitude. A contributing factor was the pilot's distraction from flying the aircraft while attempting to retract the landing gear.

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