IAD01LA033
IAD01LA033

On February 6, 2001, about 1703 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20C, N1914Y, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Peckville, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot/owner and passenger were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (GFL), Glen Falls, New York, at 1528, destined for the Smoke Town Airport (Q08), Smoke Town, Pennsylvania. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

Prior to departure, the pilot contacted the Burlington FSS, received a weather briefing, and filed an IFR flight plan. When he arrived at the airport, he performed a pre flight inspection, and fueled the airplane. The pilot then started the airplane, obtained an IFR clearance and departed GFL at 1528. The pilot reported that conditions en route were marginal, visibility was about 5 miles, and there was no visible precipitation. However, he reported that there was no reference to the ground and was flying in 'low density clouds.' The pilot reported that he was level at 10,000 feet, and communicating with Wilkes-Barre approach control (AVP), Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, when he was asked to descend to 8,000 feet. In a written statement, he said:

"AVP APPCH requested descent to 8,000 ft. Set up for normal descent (i.e. reduced power to 20 in HG and applied full carb heat). Noticed first slight indication of 'rough' running engine. Continued descent to 8,000 and AVP APPCH asked if we wanted vectors around 5 mile 'cell' of precip. Acknowledged-'yes'. At 8,000 feet, I requested descent to 6,000 feet and revision to flight plan for vectors direct to AVP. Advised AVP APPCH of partial loss of power. They cleared me for a LOC APPCH RWY 22. I advised inability to maintain altitude. They cleared me to 4,000. I requested suggestion for alternate airports-none available. I advised unable to maintain 4,000, they cleared to 3,500. We were IMC from 10,000. Still unable to maintain altitude, we broke out of clouds at ~3,000. Immediately looked for 'ditch' sites. I advised AVP APPCH of impending ditch. Throughout descent went through (mentally) emergency descent checklist (i.e. established best glide, switched fuel tanks, mixture rich, boost pump on, carb heat). But, motor continued to lose power. In the final moment I lined up with a highway (Route 6), but focused on ~5 acre field to the south of highway. Left the gear up and lined up for touch down in widest portion of site. At time of touch down, the engine was nearly silent w/slow rotation on prop. Skidded on snow covered area for ~300'. Came to rest against earth berm. Turned off master and mags and deplaned with no injuries."

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that during the descent from 10,000 feet, he noted that the outside air temperature (OAT) was -12 degrees Celsius. The pilot reported that the cabin heat was on, and hot air entered the cabin through the air duct during the flight. He did not recall if hot air continued to enter the cabin as the engine power diminished.

According to the pilot, the cabin heat was drawn from the same source as the carburetor heat, upstream of the carburetor.

The pilot also stated that he did not have a carburetor ice detector installed in the airplane.

Two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors performed and on-site examination on the evening of the accident. According to one of the inspectors, the on-scene examination was limited due to darkness and poor weather. Examination of the airplane revealed that the propeller was bent aft at the tips, the right wing sustained impact damage, and the left fuel tank was filled with fuel. No ice was found on the wings or around the engine air inlets.

An FAA inspector examined the airplane at the salvage facility on February 14, 2001. According to an inspector, the airplane was sitting outside on the ramp with the gear extended. Examination of the fuel, which had been drained from the wing tanks, revealed it was absent of debris and contamination. The firewall was wrinkled and the right wing fuel tank was found breached.

The engine was test run under the supervision of the FAA on February 21, 2001. According to an inspector, a test propeller was placed on the engine, and fuel was added to the left fuel tank. The engine started immediately and ran continuously without interruption.

The inspector also examined the carburetor heat system and found no anomalies.

Weather at AVP, at 1654, was wind from 250 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 SM, ceiling broken at 6,000 feet, broken 7,500 feet, temperature 2 degrees C, dew point 2 degrees C, and altimeter setting of 29.88 inHG.




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