CHI02LA261
CHI02LA261

On August 25, 2002, at 1430 central daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N9274V, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage during an in-flight collision with trees while on initial climb after a takeoff from Northwest Angle Airport, Warroad, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his passenger reported no injuries. The flight was departing at the time of the accident and the intended destination is unconfirmed.

According to the pilot's written statement, he completed "a preflight check and run up, checking both [magnetos], constant speed check, controls and fuel selector, and began my takeoff roll." The pilot reported the airplane "lifted off at between 75 and 78 mph and everything was normal. At 25 to 30 feet in the air I began to experience backfiring and loss of power. Then the power resumed momentarily and the engine caught again lifting us above the trees. Then the engine started backfiring severely with [a] loss of power. As we began settling into the trees I shut off the master switch and chose a tree to hit with one wing in order to break our forward motion and to slow the aircraft. The aircraft spun around doing a 180 degree turn settling into the trees." The pilot stated that he "saw a small amount of smoke coming from the [cowling]" after he exited the airplane.

An airframe & powerplant mechanic inspected the accident airplane and provided a written report. Inspection of the engine compartment revealed fire damage to the air filter assembly, air intake ducting, and rubberized engine compartment baffling. All muffler baffles were either burned or missing.

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