On October 20, 1997, at 1630 central daylight time (cdt), a Mooney M20C, N9449V, operated by a commercial pilot, experienced electrical failure during cruise flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage when it was subsequently landed with the landing gear up, at St. Charles County Smartt Airport, Missouri. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The ferry flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated at Kansas City, Missouri, at 1450 cdt, and was en route to Perryville, Missouri.

In his written statement, the pilot said that the airplane was on a ferry permit to Perryville, Missouri, to have annual maintenance performed. The airplane had to be "jump started" at the flight's origination. Shortly after departing, the pilot said he could no longer hear the tower or Kansas City Departure Control. The pilot attempted to use his hand-held radio, but its battery symbol showed a low-power indication. The pilot continued toward his planned destination. Over Sedalia, Missouri, the pilot noted that both fuel gages read empty. The pilot was concerned, but since he knew he had taken off with full fuel in the left tank, he elected to continue the flight, but decided to land at St. Charles County Smartt Airport, at St. Charles, Missouri. Approximately 4 miles from the airport, the pilot went to extend the landing gear with the normal landing gear extension. Nothing happened. The pilot said that he had no light indications, nor did he feel or hear the gear extend. The pilot flew north of the airport and went through the emergency landing gear extension procedure.

The pilot described performing the emergency landing gear extension procedure as (1) pulling the landing gear circuit breaker, (2) placing the landing gear handle down, (3) placing the Release Lever on the left cockpit wall in the "down" position, (4) extending the crank handle, and (5) turning the handle "40 plus" times.

The pilot brought the airplane back to the airport and made a low pass over the runway, hoping someone would see him and give him a "wave off" if the gear was not down. The pilot came back around for another approach, but had to perform a go-around for another airplane in the traffic pattern. On his final landing attempt, the pilot reduced airspeed and established himself on final for a straight-in approach to runway 36. The pilot reduced the engine power to idle and hoped the gear was down. The airplane touched down on its "belly" and slid to a stop on the runway.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage at the airport. The underside of the airplane's fuselage skin was crushed upward and buckled. The main wing carry-through spar in the bottom fuselage between the wings, was bent upward near the center. The bottom stiffener and angle splice were also bent upward. The inboard flap hinge and cover on the left and right wing flaps were bent up and aft. The bottom part of the rudder skin was bent upward. The propeller showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches and rearward tip bending. Five propeller strike marks were observed in the runway asphalt. Flight control continuity was confirmed. Examination of the airplane's engine and engine controls revealed no anomalies. Examination of the airplane's alternator revealed that the front bearing was broken.

Tests of the airplane's normal and emergency landing gear extension systems were conducted on October 29, 1997, at Portage des Sioux, Missouri. Testing of the manual gear extension system revealed that the handcrank would not engage every time the handcrank engage lever was placed in the "forward" position.

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