On January 9, 1997, at 1333 hours Pacific standard time, a Mooney M20K, N305NH, veered off runway 16R during the landing rollout at Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys, California, colliding with a runway sign. The aircraft was owned and operated by the private, instrument rated pilot, and was completing a personal cross-country flight from Las Vegas, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The pilot and the three passengers were not injured. The flight originated in Las Vegas at 1215 on the day of the accident.

In a telephone interview conducted shortly following the accident flight, the pilot reported that "there were no apparent mechanical problems with the aircraft and that weather was not a factor." The pilot indicated in his written statement that he "touched down close to the center line at approximately 65 knots on the main gear then the nose touched down. Plane immediately veered to the left. I applied right rudder. Plane did not respond. I applied more right rudder pressure but plane went into the grass off the runway."

The aircraft was examined by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector from the Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office on January 16, 1997. The inspector stated in his written report that he ". . . inspected the brakes and found them in normal condition with adequate life left on the linings, and that both brakes functioned properly when the brake pedals were depressed." The inspector further reported that ". . . the nose gear steering mechanism was intact and functioned properly when each rudder pedal was depressed in each direction."

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