ERA10LA013
ERA10LA013

On October 9, 2009, about 2120 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Mooney M20C, N2558Y, ditched in the Gulf of Mexico, following a loss of engine power. The certificated private pilot and two passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed from Tampa Executive Airport (VDF), Tampa, Florida, and had a destination of The Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The flight departed VDF about 2045 EDT and the pilot was being provided visual flight rules (VFR) flight following to his intended destination by Air Traffic Control. About 2115 and approximately 43 miles northwest of MTH, the pilot radioed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center and reported a loss of engine power and that he was ditching in the Gulf of Mexico. At 0930 on October 10, 2009, the United States Coast Guard rescued the pilot and two passengers from a crab pot buoy. The occupants sustained minor injuries from the impact.

In a written statement the pilot reported that he had just engaged the fuel pump prior to the engine failure, as he was planning on making a descent into MTH. The "engine suddenly quit with a subtle instant increase of engine noise and then quiet." He checked the "fuel status and tank which were OK." He attempted to "start the engine three times without success."

The pilot reported to an FAA inspector that he had filled the fuel tanks prior to departing MTH; however, the pilot further stated that the receipt from the self-service fuel pump was probably in the airplane when it sank. In a review of self service fuel records at MTH on October 9, 2009, at 1750, the pilot had purchased 17.36 gallons of fuel on his personal credit card. The pilot reported to the NTSB that he had 35 gallons of fuel on board when he departed VDF.

According to the fix based operator line manager at VDF, the accident airplane and pilot landed at the airport and his two passengers, who had been waiting, went to and got in, the airplane while the engine was still running. The airplane then taxied out and departed. The airplane did not receive fuel at VDF.

According to maintenance records acquired from several maintenance facilities, the engine had undergone a major overhaul on October 13, 2006, and was installed in the airplane on November 7, 2006. On September 18, 2009, the airplane, engine, and propeller had undergone an annual inspection. At the time of the annual inspection the airframe total time was 5,721.49 hours and the engine had 68.02 hours since major overhaul.

According to pilot and FAA records, he held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent third class medical was issued on May 28, 2008 and he had 1,000 hours of total flight experience including 358 hours in make and model of the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was on June 10, 2008 and was in the accident aircraft make and model.

The 2053 recorded weather observation at MTH, included winds from 110 degrees at 7 knots, scattered clouds at 2,400 feet above ground level (agl) and at 2,900 feet agl, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point 23 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.

At the time of this writing, the airplane wreckage had not been located.

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