NTSB Identification: WPR09FA133
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 28, 2009 in Rio Linda, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2011
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N3463X
Injuries: 2 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 flight was planned to be a maintenance test flight following an annual inspection, which included the installation of a field overhauled engine by the mechanic/passenger. Witnesses reported that a "popping" sound was heard during the takeoff ground roll. After liftoff, they heard the engine surge followed by a puff of black smoke emanating from the right rear of the engine. A videotape recording obtained from a camera located on a nearby building captured the airplane on the initial climb-out before it made a left turn back to the runway. The left wing and nose dropped as the airplane entered a spin prior to descending out of view of the camera. The airplane came to rest in an open field about 300 feet from the end of the runway and was consumed by a post-crash fire. During the postaccident inspection of the airframe and engine, no mechanical failures or malfunctions were found that would have prevented normal operation. The fuel lines, hoses, and fuel pump were too badly fire damaged to be able to determine if any pre-existing malfunctions affected those components.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed while maneuvering during the initial climb, which resulted in a stall/spin. Full narrative available
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