NTSB Identification: IAD03FA039.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 20, 2003 in Leesburg, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/24/2005
Aircraft: Mooney M20R, registration: N1005P
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.
The instrument rated pilot flew the published instrument approach procedure and cancelled IFR services while on final approach. A review of radar data revealed that when the airplane was approximately 1 mile from the end of the runway, it began a left, 360-degree turn at an altitude of 1,600 feet msl, at a groundspeed of 98 knots. The turn was completed within a radius of approximately 0.2 nautical miles. Upon completion of the turn, the airplane was at an altitude of 1,000 feet msl, headed toward the airport. Twenty seconds later, the airplane began a left turn to the east, just before the data ended. The last radar target was at an altitude of 900 feet msl. Several witnesses observed the airplane, and described the weather as light drizzle, fog, and dark. A witness said he could easily identify the airplane's navigational lights, and saw the nose of the airplane straight up in the air, as it simultaneously rolled to the left, on to its back, as the nose dropped straight down toward the ground. The airplane continued to roll a full 360 degrees, then hit the ground nose first. The witness also described the maneuver as "very violent and not controlled." Examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical deficiencies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while on final approach for undetermined reasons.
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