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On October 17, 1993, at about 1130 central daylight time, a Mooney M20B, N74724, collided with terrain during maneuvering flight near Bethpage, Tennessee. The private pilot and his wife were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces. The aircraft was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight from Indianapolis, Indiana to Rome, Georgia. The flight departed Indianapolis at about 0920 central daylight time.
Family members of the pilot reported that the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the aircraft on the morning of October 17. The pilot's son was not certain, but believed that his father obtained a weather briefing, or filed a flight plan prior to departure. Rome, Georgia was the planned refueling stop for the flight to the pilot's home in Florida. The pilot stated to his son prior to the flight that he had to "fly around a storm" during the planned flight. A search of Flight Service Station records did not indicate any evidence that a weather briefing took place, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.
A witness observed the aircraft fly over his house at low altitude shortly prior to the accident. He was outside in his yard at the time. About 30 seconds later, he again heard the aircraft flying over his property, and he noted that the engine noise was very loud. He heard the engine running until he heard the crash.
Another witness, who lived adjacent to the accident site, reported that the aircraft passed over his house in a southeasterly direction, then returned a short time later "at a high rate of speed and very low." He stated that the engine "sounded good with no missing or any unusual sound other than high r.p.m's." He also reported that the ceiling of the clouds at his house was "almost zero" at the time of the accident. He could not see clearly horizontally from his house. He was not able to see the aircraft, even at low altitude, when it passed over his house.
Information on the pilot is included in this report at the section titled "First Pilot Information." A review of the pilot's logbooks revealed that his last logged biennial flight review was completed on May 28, 1991. From October 22, 1992, until October 24, 1992, the pilot logged seven flights as a "Mooney checkout", however there was not a biennial flight review entry in his logbook for these flights. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot was not instrument rated.
Information on the aircraft is contained in this report at the section titled "Aircraft Information."
Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the accident site at the time of the accident. The recorded weather data from the Sumner County Airport (elevation 584 feet mean sea level (MSL)), in Gallatin, Tennessee, is included as an attachment to this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft wreckage was located at the edge of a pasture, bordered by wooded terrain. The area of the accident site was situated in hilly terrain. The elevation of the accident site was estimated by the Tennessee Army National Guard to be 900 feet MSL; the accident site coordinates were estimated to be 36 deg 30.0' N, 86 deg 20.9' W. The area of initial ground impact was a crater, which contained the propeller assembly. Several trees showed evidence of fresh damage, and there were several smoothly cut tree branches at the main wreckage area. The angle from the initial impact crater to the tree damage was about 56 degrees.
The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 040 degrees magnetic. The main wreckage consisted of the right wing, the cockpit, the tailcone, and the empennage. The right wing was intact, and was crushed chordwise throughout the wing area. The left wing was fragmented, with all sections found within the wreckage path area. The flaps and ailerons were separated from both wings, and were found within the wreckage path area. Both wing fuel tanks were ruptured. Flight control continuity was not confirmed to the ailerons due to impact damage. The tailcone was crushed and buckled. The leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were crushed aft along the leading edges. The rudder and elevator were still attached to the empennage. Flight control continuity was not confirmed to the elevator and rudder due to impact damage.
The engine and accessories were found separated from the airframe, about six feet from the empennage. The engine crankcase and cylinders were crushed from ground impact. A portion of the instrument panel was connected to the engine by control cables. The propeller assembly was found in the initial ground impact crater, which was about 3 feet in depth. The propeller blades were deformed and twisted toward low pitch, with chordwise scratching, "s" bending, and leading edge gouging. An instrument gyroscope rotor was found in the pasture, with its housing fractured. Heavy rotational scarring was observed in the rotor vane area and on the inside of the rotor housing. The altimeter and engine tachometer were found in the pasture, separated from the instrument panel. The face of the tachometer was crushed, with the tachometer reading 2,400 rpm. The Kollsman window setting on the altimeter was found at 30.06 inches.
Medical and Pathological Information
A post mortem examination of the pilot was performed by Dr. Charles W. Harlan, M.D., Office of the Medical Examiners, Nashville, Tennessee. Toxicological testing on the pilot could not be performed due to the specimens being unsuitable for analysis.
The aircraft wreckage was released to:
Debbie Jo Tennis American Claim Service, Inc. 5368 Flowering Peach Drive Memphis, Tennessee 38115.