NTSB Identification: ERA11FA406
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 18, 2011 in Augusta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: MOONEY AIRCRAFT CORP. M20K, registration: N777CV
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.

Maintenance personnel reported that, 2 days before the accident, they were hired by the pilot to prepare the airplane for a maintenance ferry flight following a gear-up landing. While inspecting the airplane, the mechanic noted that the three-blade propeller was bent, so he removed it. Subsequently, the pilot provided maintenance personnel with a two-blade propeller, which they installed. However, when the mechanic attempted to replace the spinner, it would not fit properly. Therefore, he did not sign off the logbooks and advised the pilot that the airplane should not be flown. Review of the airplane’s records revealed that the airplane had a supplemental type certificate for an engine conversion kit that required a three-blade propeller. On the day of the accident, another mechanic conducted a run-up of the engine and noted that the propeller was not working correctly. The supplier of the two-blade propeller advised the mechanic that the airplane should not be flown in that condition. The mechanic discussed the anomaly with the pilot and advised him not to fly the airplane until the issue was resolved. The pilot acknowledged the discrepancy but chose to fly the airplane. Shortly after takeoff, witnesses observed the propeller separate from the airplane. Subsequently, the airplane spiraled to the ground in a nose-down attitude. Examinations revealed that the propeller attachment bolts had failed, which resulted in the separation of the propeller from the airplane. Five of the six propeller mounting studs exhibited evidence of high-stress fatigue cracking, which indicates that a severe spectrum of cyclic loading in the propeller/engine system occurred, likely as the result of using an unapproved propeller on the airplane.

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

The pilot’s decision to fly the airplane after maintenance personnel advised him that the airplane should not be flown because the pilot provided an incorrect propeller for installation and the subsequent failure of the propeller attachment bolts and the separation of the propeller.

Full narrative available

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