**Disclaimer, some of the NTSB reports are not final, I do not work for the NTSB or FAA, and my analysis is only as a concerned Mooney owner and not in an official capacity. I also realize that some of our MS members may be the subject to some of these crashes. The observations are objective and not personal. If there are factual errors in the reports, please let me know with documentation.
Fellow MSers, this is a living thread that I'll edit as I add info. Click here for my previous post on 2017 Mooney fatal accidents. I'll jump right to it:
For 2017, there were 24 Mooney Accidents (20 non-fatal). Bottom line upfront - top Mooney accident causes mirror GA overall with the GA top three being Loss of control, CFIT, and engine loss, in that order. 2017 Mooney top causes mirrored the GA top 3 just a slightly different order. Overall, top Mooney causes, in order:
1. Loss of Control - 5
1. Engine Loss - 5
2. CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) - 4
2. Fuel related - 4
3. Misc (hard landing, long landing, instrument fail)- 3
4. Gear up - 2
5. CO2 Poisoning - 1
Overall, there were some variances in the data due to incomplete or non-existent post-accident analysis. Some reports were very thorough, while others very sparse. One item to highlight, only one engine failure was due to a confirmed catastrophic failure of a component. A few engine failures could have been fuel related, but since no evidence in the report could confirm, I kept them under the engine loss category. I reserve the Top 3 accident fixes/best practices for a separate thread.
Listed below is a breakdown and summary of each accident (long read):
12/21/17 – gear up. Partial gear extension that was not verified visually by the pilot. NTSB probable cause: A failure of the normal landing gear extension system for reasons that could not be determined due to damage to the system and the pilot's failure to ensure that the landing gear was down and locked before touchdown. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's distraction due to weather and traffic.
11/26/17 – non-fatal. fuel starvation, ran right tank to empty in pattern, switched tank, engine came back, but plane too low and collided with the ground.
11/23/17 – fatal. Possible loss of control/spatial disorientation
11/06/17 – non-fatal. CFIT. Pilot realized plane was short of runway, applied power and plane rolled left and impacted the ground. NTSB listed probable cause: “The pilot's improper glidepath during a night approach, which resulted in impact with terrain short of the runway.”
10/07/17 – non-fatal. Loss of control. Abrupt pitch-up on takeoff to get to Vx, pulled past into power-on stall, airplane rolled left and impacted terrain. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack during takeoff, which resulted in a departure stall.
9/22/17 – non-fatal. Fuel exhaustion.
9/16/17 – fatal. Engine loss, cause unknown. Possible fuel system issue.
9/9/17 – non-fatal. Hard landing. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's unstabilized approach while landing with a tailwind and his subsequent failure to go around, which resulted in a hard landing.
8/20/17 – Non-fatal. Engine loss due to No. 4 cylinder failure causing in-flight fire (possible shearing of fuel line into carburetor (my analysis)).
8/2/17 – non-fatal. Fuel starvation. Pilot elected to takeoff with less than fuel required for route of flight. Also did not adhere to 91.151 which states pilot must plan to arrive at VFR destination with at least 30 min of fuel. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's improper decision to conduct the flight despite the fuel gauges indicating that there was insufficient fuel for the flight, which resulted in the low amount of fuel in the right tank becoming unported during the multiple turns, and his subsequent improper decision to switch to the nearly empty left tank, which led to a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
7/29/17 – non-fatal. Gear up landing. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's distraction before landing by a helicopter that was transitioning to the airport and his subsequent failure to extend the landing gear before touchdown.
7/14/17 – non-fatal. Loss of control on ground. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during landing in gusting crosswind conditions.
7/15/17 – non-fatal. CFIT. The pilot's failure to maintain a proper approach path, which resulted in impact with trees.
5/28/17 – non-fatal. Long landing resulting in exiting runway and impacting a mailbox. NTSB listed probable cause: The pilot's failure to attain a proper touchdown point during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impaired vision due to his broken eyeglasses.
5/15/17 – non-fatal. Instrument malfunction. Pitot tube partially clogged by insect led to airspeed reading lower than actual airspeed. NTSB probable cause: Inaccurate airspeed indications due to contamination of the pitot-static system with insect remains, which resulted in a high approach and landing speed and subsequent runway overrun. **I disagree with NTSB findings. Causal factor is pilot decision to take aircraft with a known abnormal airspeed reading back in the air.
5/12/17 – non-fatal. Engine failure due to unknown cause. NTSB did not fully test the engine therefore no cause is listed. NTSB probable cause: The total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.
5/9/17 – non-fatal. Engine failure, cause unknown. Post-crash interview with pilot suggested some sort of catastrophic mechanical failure.
5/2/17 – non-fatal. Fuel starvation. Fuel selector switch malfunctioned and did not actually switch valve. NTSB probable cause: The loose fuel tank selector knob set screw, which prevented the fuel selector from moving to the fuel tank position for the tank with usable fuel and resulted in fuel starvation and the subsequent total loss of engine power.
4/28/17 – non-fatal. CFIT. Late decision to go-around, combined with misapplied go-around procedure caused plane to stall and impact ocean. NTSB probable cause: The pilot's failure to follow the manufacturer's go-around procedure, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
3/28/17 – fatal. Loss of control due to possible spatial disorientation at night. NTSB probable cause: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain after takeoff in dark night conditions for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.
3/3/17 – non-fatal. Loss of control on landing during touch-and-go practice. Cause unknown due to plane being sold for salvage prior to investigation. NTSB probable cause: A loss of directional control during landing for reasons that could be determined based on the available information.
2/2/17 – non-fatal. Carbon monoxide poisoning incapacitated pilot. Plane subsequently flew until fuel starvation and then crashed. Not listed in the report, but causal was pilot’s lack of recognizing CO2 poisoning symptoms (headache, disorientation, lethargy, etc.). Accident flight was the pilot’s third flight of the day. NTSB probable cause: The pilot's incapacitation from carbon monoxide poisoning in flight due to cracks in the exhaust muffler, which resulted in the airplane's continued flight until it ran out of fuel and its subsequent collision with terrain.
1/12/17 – fatal. CFIT due to VFR pilot flying into IMC conditions and not on a flight plan. Plane impacted terrain in the weather. NTSB probable cause: The pilot's controlled flight into mountainous terrain while attempting to operate under visual flight rules in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).
1/4/17 – engine loss due to possible air in fuel line. Could not be verified or duplicated during post-crash analysis, therefore listed cause unknown. Plane recently had fuel selector valve work performed (replaced O-rings). Post Mx tests were conducted and plane returned to service.
CFIT definition: When an airworthy aircraft under the control of the flight crew is flown unintentionally into terrain, obstacles or water, usually with no prior awareness by the crew.