NTSB Identification: DEN03LA013.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 03, 2002 in Broomfield, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Mooney M20E, registration: N9288M
Injuries: 3 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 said he made a full flap landing. Instead of keeping the nose wheel off the runway, he relaxed elevator back pressure. When the nose wheel contacted the runway, the airplane swerved to the left. The pilot attempted to straighten the airplane using right rudder and brakes, but was unsuccessfull and he lost directional control. The airplane went off the runway and traveled across snow-covered grass. The right main and nose landing gears collapsed, and the airplane slid to a halt on the upslope side of a drainage ditch parallel to the runway. Postaccident examination disclosed the steering horn attach bolt was sheared at the nut end and the bolt head was slightly backed away from the nose gear truss where it attached. Mooney Service Bulletin M20-169, dated July 18, 1968, requires the replacement of the AN3-20A bolt with a NAS623-3-29 screw. This had not been accomplished. No brake discrepancies were noted. It could not be determined if the bolt had sheared prior to or upon touchdown or during the impact sequence. The pilot later said that if he had held the nose wheel off the runway as long as possible instead of relaxing elevator back pressure when the airplane touched down, speed would have dissipated and he could have kept the airplane on the runway by using differential braking. Damage consisted of collapsed right main and nose landing gears, buckled wing and nose gear attach points, firewall, several wing ribs, and crushed wing tips and tail cone.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain directional control after landing due to a sheared steering horn attach bolt that should have been replaced by maintenance personnel in compliance with an outstanding service bulletin. Contributing factors included the pilot's improper aircraft handling (relaxing elevator back pressure at high speed during rollout) and the ditch.

Full narrative available

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