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On January 3, 2004, approximately 1445 central standard time, a Mooney M20C single-engine airplane, N6934N, was destroyed upon collision with terrain following a loss of control near Amarillo, Texas. The private pilot/co-owner, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. No flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that originated from the Tradewind Airport (TDW), near Amarillo, Texas, about 1441, destined for Lamesa Municipal Airport (2F5), near Lamesa, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.
A review of the air traffic control (ATC) voice communications revealed the pilot made initial contact with Amarillo Approach Control at 1441, and requested visual flight rules (VFR) flight following. Approximately four minutes later, he reported that he was having "chest pains" and wanted to return to the "ground." There were no further communications with the pilot.
At 1449, a pilot that was flying in the local area, reported to ATC the airplane had crashed about a mile southwest of the Tradewind Airport.
A witness, who was located at an airport about 10 miles south of the accident site, initially observed the airplane as it headed south at an approximate altitude of 1,200 to 1,500 feet above ground level. He then observed the airplane enter a descending, 180-degree right turn. The airplane continued to descend (at approximately 150-200 feet per minute) until it disappeared from his view. The witness added that the engine was "loud" and operating at full power during the turn. The landing gear was in the retracted position, and there were no "apparent difficulties" with the airplane.
Additionally, several other witnesses observed the airplane descending in a steep bank prior to impacting the ground.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 035 degrees, 10 minutes north latitude, and 101 degrees, 50 minutes west longitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on April 3, 2002.
Examination of the pilot's logbook revealed he had accumulated a total of 1,142.2 hours, of which, 799 hours were in the same make and model.
Examination of the aircraft logbooks revealed that the last annual inspection of the airplane was completed on January 24, 2003.
The weather observation facility at Tradewind Airport, at 1453, reported the wind from 060 degrees at 07 knots, 10 statute mile visibility, clear skies, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.74 inches Mercury. The temperature was 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point was 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on January 04, 2004. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest in a plowed field, at an elevation of approximately 3,260 feet mean sea level (msl), on a magnetic heading of 093 degrees.
The main wreckage consisted of the engine, empennage, the tail control surfaces, and both wings.
The fuselage was consumed by a post-impact fire from the cockpit to the tail section, and both wings exhibited fire damage. Flight control continuity was established for the rudder, elevator, and elevator trim from the tail to the cockpit area.
The throttle was found in the idle position. The mixture and propeller controls were found in the full forward position.
The two-bladed propeller assembly was separated from the engine. Both blades remained attached to the hub, and the spinner was crushed. One blade exhibited bends forward and aft with trailing edge damage. The blade was twisted inside the hub. The second blade exhibited a slight bend aft, and the rest of the blade was straight. There were small amounts of leading edge damage exhibited.
The engine was intact, but sustained fire and impact damage. The fuel pump was separated from the engine.
Examination of the airplane and engine did not revealed any mechanical deficiencies.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on January 05, 2004, by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Division of Forensic Pathology, Lubbock, Texas. The cause of death was determined as blunt impact injuries.
Toxicological testing was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for items tested.
A review of the pilot's personal medical records revealed that in the months preceding the accident the pilot had been found to have high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol.
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on January 8, 2004.