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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR16LA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 14, 2015 in Corona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/01/2017
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N5863Q
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot reported that the accident flight was the airplane’s first flight after being painted. After completing a preflight inspection, the pilot started the engine and observed a decrease in power. He leaned the mixture slightly, and the engine rpm returned to normal idle speed. The pilot reported that during the engine run-up, he noticed that the engine had a delayed response when he increased the throttle, but that the run-up otherwise revealed no anomalies. The pilot stated that the takeoff roll took longer than expected, and after lifting off near the end of the runway, the airplane climbed more slowly than normal. The pilot stated that during the initial climb, engine power had decreased to 2,000 rpm. As the airplane reached about 100 ft above ground level, the engine was producing about 1,800 rpm and could not maintain a climb. The pilot elected to continue straight ahead rather than return to the runway, and the airplane subsequently descended into trees. A postaccident examination revealed no anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The reason for the partial loss of engine power was not determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A partial loss of engine power during initial climb for reasons that could not be determined based on available information. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to conduct the takeoff with observed engine deficiencies.