NTSB Identification: DEN05LA043.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 23, 2004 in Telluride, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Mooney M20E, registration: N5550Q
Injuries: 4 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 stated that during the climb he noticed the tachometer was "reading high and erratic." As he continued to climb, he heard a sharp, piercing, "screeching and chirping noise." The pilot stated that he adjusted the propeller control and was able to "detect an audible reduction in the engine speed"; however, the screeching and chirping noise continued to increase in volume. The pilot elected to return to the airport to land. While on a right downwind leg for runway 09, the pilot extended his landing gear and attempted to extend flaps. The pilot stated that the flaps would not extend. He "slipped the airplane to slow [his airspeed] and descend." On short final, the pilot stated he inadvertently retracted the landing gear but was unaware of his error until the propeller hit the ground during the landing flare. The airplane was substantially damaged. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that a bearing had seized inside of the engine tachometer and was producing the squealing and chirping noise. Further examination revealed that moisture had contaminated the hydraulic system and had frozen, preventing the extension of the flaps. No other anomalies with the engine, propeller or other airplane systems were noted. According to the aviation routine weather report (METAR) for TEX, the temperature the day of the accident was 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight decision making and inadvertent retraction of the landing gear resulting in a wheels up landing. A contributing factor included the pilot's attention being diverted by the seized engine tachometer.

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