NTSB Identification: NYC03LA019.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 12, 2002 in Vineyard Haven, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Mooney M20R, registration: N2165Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 was performing a VOR Runway 6 approach over water during night instrument meteorological conditions. Radar data revealed that the airplane descended toward the airport, to an altitude of 200 feet, then began a climbing right turn to an altitude of 700 feet, before radar contact was lost. The pilot did not report any problems to air traffic controllers. Several small pieces of debris, which included portions of the airplane's interior and small pieces of sheet metal, were recovered during the days subsequent to the accident. A portion of the cabin forward of the wing spar and aft of the engine washed onto a beach area. The airplane's engine, wings, and empennage were not recovered. A pilot who landed 15 minutes prior to the accident, and also utilized the VOR Runway 6 approach, said he had no problems tracking the VOR, and "broke out" of the clouds at 700 feet, with 2 to 3 miles of visibility in moderate rain. He stated it was "windy, but down the runway." In addition, the pilot reported he felt the weather conditions he experienced while on approach were the same as the accident airplane, except that the rain had intensified. A review of the VOR Runway 6 approach revealed that the minimum decent altitude was 400 feet above the ground. In addition, the missed approach procedure included a climbing right turn to 2,500 feet. A weather observation taken at the airport, about the time of the accident, included: winds from 030 degrees at 15 knots; visibility 2 miles with heavy rain and mist; and a broken ceiling at 600 feet, with a broken cloud layer at 1,100 feet, and an overcast cloud layer at 1,800 feet.

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

The pilot's spatial disorientation during a missed approach, which resulted in a loss of control, and the airplane's subsequent impact with water. Factors included clouds, rain, and night lighting conditions.

Full narrative available

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