NTSB Identification: DEN04LA105.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 17, 2004 in Escalante, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2004
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, registration: N6773U
Injuries: 2 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.
According to the pilot, approximately 25 minutes into the flight, the engine began to run rough and shake "violently." A few monuments later, blue smoke came out of the engine cowling and filled the cabin. The pilot shut down the engine, and attempted a forced landing to an exposed sand bar adjacent to a river. When the airplane impacted the sand bar, the nose landing gear and both main landing gear assemblies collapsed, substantially damaging the airplane's firewall and both wings. An engine examination revealed that a brass quick-drain fitting, installed in the engine's oil pan, had unscrewed and fallen out. The quick-drain fitting was not secured with safety wire.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the improper installation of an oil pan quick-drain fitting resulting in the loss of engine oil, failure of the engine, and subsequent impact with terrain following an attempted forced landing. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.
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