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Another mooney accident. Massachusetts


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Just now, toto said:

From what I understand, the right-seater was 13 years younger and a highly experienced CFI with decades in the airframe. 

Doesn’t mean there wasn’t a medical issue, but it seems like there was something else in play :(

It might just mean that there wasn't recognition of what was happening until it was too late.

Fingers crossed that the other pilot recovers and can provide some insight.   Otherwise we may never have any way of knowing.   Tragic regardless.   :'(

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49 minutes ago, EricJ said:

At that age it's hard to discount a medical issue popping up and interfering with things.   I ain't nearly that old and I still worry about it.

 

Every accident - here, CrashTalk on BeechTalk, Pilots of Americe, etc - there is the "medical" speculation.  But there were 2 qualified pilots flying.  Reports say the pilot was the husband.  The wife presumably in the right seat, Candace Oldham, is a Commercial Pilot and CFI.  Of course possible but I tend to think less likely.

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

At that age it's hard to discount a medical issue popping up and interfering with things.   I ain't nearly that old and I still worry about it.

I know it will start a fire-storm but perhaps "At that age it's hard to discount" that 'age' is interfering with things.......

To use your same words in a different context "I ain't nearly that old and I still worry about it"

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1 hour ago, Cruiser said:

why the early descent from 20 miles out ? What is the ATC freq. there? Were they talking with them ? 
It appears the plane was flaps down, wheels down. 

If you look at ADSBExchange, although it didn't capture the entire track to Falmouth 5B6, you can see that they were flying VFR squawking 1200.  Even if they were talking to ATC with Flight Following, altitude would be at their discretion.  If you look at prior flights, you will see that they typically descend early and fly over the bay or Cape at 1000-2000 AGL - perhaps enjoying the view.

https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a3eb93&lat=41.805&lon=-71.189&zoom=10.2&showTrace=2022-12-02&leg=2&trackLabels&timestamp=1670010983

 

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Edited by 1980Mooney
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14 minutes ago, Cruiser said:

Interesting, I assumed they were IFR from the altitude flown. While the descent was not extreme, it seems strange they would pick >1,000 fpm as a 'normal' rate. Just sayin' 

I don't know how it's in other regions but here in Houston area is not common for ATC to "assign" IFR altitudes to VFR aircrafts under flight following.

It is really intriguing this accident, hopefully we will learn what happened. From my understand this is clearly not an engine failure. The aircraft crashed inside the airport perimeter. It seems they were in an area that, even if not making the runway because of an engine failure/fuel starvation, they were able to land short, in the grass, with a much better outcome.

Although I don't trust ADS-B data this close to the ground, in the last minute there seems to be a climb from 500ft to 800ft. Maybe they saw something in the runway and they tried to execute a go-around that ended up catastrophically?

I feel really sorry for Candi's loss. On the up side, let's think that Rae passed away doing what he loved, much better than passing away in an elderly care facility, at least in my view of seeing life.

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40 minutes ago, Cruiser said:

Interesting, I assumed they were IFR from the altitude flown. While the descent was not extreme, it seems strange they would pick >1,000 fpm as a 'normal' rate. Just sayin' 

If you look closely at the pics of this J model (with 300 hp Cont. IO-550A "Missile" conversion) you will see that it has speed brakes in the wings.  That said, I have the same conversion without speed brakes and I many times descend VFR at 1,000 fpm.  It doesn't seem unusual to me.  I assume that they, like me, chose this conversion because they like to fly fast.

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37 minutes ago, redbaron1982 said:

I don't know how it's in other regions but here in Houston area is not common for ATC to "assign" IFR altitudes to VFR aircrafts under flight following.

It is really intriguing this accident, hopefully we will learn what happened. From my understand this is clearly not an engine failure. The aircraft crashed inside the airport perimeter. It seems they were in an area that, even if not making the runway because of an engine failure/fuel starvation, they were able to land short, in the grass, with a much better outcome.

Although I don't trust ADS-B data this close to the ground, in the last minute there seems to be a climb from 500ft to 800ft. Maybe they saw something in the runway and they tried to execute a go-around that ended up catastrophically?

I feel really sorry for Candi's loss. On the up side, let's think that Rae passed away doing what he loved, much better than passing away in an elderly care facility, at least in my view of seeing life.

On Crash Talk at Beechtalk someone posted pics where the plane hit tree tops prior to (or during) the crash.  That would seem to indicate they were too low or in a stall - not a botched "go-around".   The Missile will climb at 1,700+ fpm at sea level. I have popped up at 1,900 fpm on a cool day like that.  If they saw something there is ample power to pop up and go around.

Clearly they knew where the trees were because they have lived in that airpark for 20 years+.

If you look at their Westward outbound track earlier in the day they were squawking a discrete code so maybe they were Flight Following.  But on return the were VFR 1200 so they were not Flight Following.

Edited by 1980Mooney
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10 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

On Crash Talk at Beechtalk someone posted pics where the plane hit tree tops prior to (or during) the crash.  That would seem to indicate they were too low or in a stall - not a botched "go-around".   The Missile will climb at 1,700+ fpm at sea level.  If they saw something there is ample power to pop up and go around.

Clearly they knew where the trees were because they have lived in that airpark for 20 years+.

If you look at their Westward outbound track earlier in the day they were squawking a discrete code so maybe they were Flight Following.  But on return the were VFR 1200 so they were not Flight Following.

Possibly they were trying to glide to the airpark after an engine issue.  Are any of the pictures good enough on the prop to tell if it was making power?  It might take ntsb investigation for that since it hit pretty hard prop first.

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Possibly they were trying to glide to the airpark after an engine issue.  Are any of the pictures good enough on the prop to tell if it was making power?  It might take ntsb investigation for that since it hit pretty hard prop first.

Yes. There was no twisting of the blades in the photo I saw. I also thought the Missile conversion came with a full feathering prop. That true?


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1 hour ago, Marauder said:

Yes. There was no twisting of the blades in the photo I saw. I also thought the Missile conversion came with a full feathering prop. That true?

I know the Rocket does. Not sure about the Missile. @Seth?

This is so sad. I remember Rae from the MAPA email list when I first bought my Mooney. I kept up with it for several years (6? 7? 8?), but doing that and three aviation forums was too much. Now I'm down to pretty much just here.

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3 hours ago, Ragsf15e said:

Possibly they were trying to glide to the airpark after an engine issue.  Are any of the pictures good enough on the prop to tell if it was making power?  It might take ntsb investigation for that since it hit pretty hard prop first.

 

2 hours ago, Marauder said:

Yes. There was no twisting of the blades in the photo I saw. I also thought the Missile conversion came with a full feathering prop. That true?

These are the best pics of the prop that I can find.  Yes the Missile conversion includes a full feathering Hartzell Scimitar 3 blade prop.  When feathered it gives about 50% more glide distance than a regular J to about 16/1 glide ratio. 

The blades don't look feathered.  In the first it almost looks like the plane landed on its nose.

 

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Edited by 1980Mooney
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What an sobering tragedy.  From the pix available, the limited area of ground scar and the impact crater seem to suggest tremendous force at nose down attitude - it seems remarkable the right seat pilot/ spouse survived. Suspect engine stoppage given the state of the prop and witness of clipping tree tops, followed by some component of loss of control.  The tiny runway, night time, heavily wooded area with no clearings to speak of that I can tell all stacked the deck against them.  I'm not sure how many of us would fare much better under these circumstances.

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31 minutes ago, Ragsf15e said:

I’m no accident investigator, but it doesn’t look like the prop is feathered or twisted.

 

20 minutes ago, DXB said:

What an sobering tragedy.  From the pix available, the limited area of ground scar and the impact crater seem to suggest tremendous force at nose down attitude - it seems remarkable the right seat pilot/ spouse survived. Suspect engine stoppage given the state of the prop and witness of clipping tree tops, followed by some component of loss of control.  The tiny runway, night time, heavily wooded area with no clearings to speak of that I can tell all stacked the deck against them.  I'm not sure how many of us would fare much better under these circumstances.

Correct - blades are not feathered.  But it does look like the spinner is crushed.  But if it wasn't spinning when the blade and spinner contacted the turf, then the plane had to be upside down in order to crushed the top of the spinner and bent the top blade back.   The top cowl is gone and you can see that most of the firewall is gone and about half of the upper steel cage/fuselage is missing.  You can see that what is left of the fuselage is crushed and buckled just ahead of the rear windows.  It took a tremendous force crushing against the upper fuselage to do that.  Contact with the ground upside down might do that.  It is hard to imagine a perfectly horizontal tree branch would do it.  

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2 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

 

Correct - blades are not feathered.  But it does look like the spinner is crushed.  But if it wasn't spinning when the blade and spinner contacted the turf, then the plane had to be upside down in order to crushed the top of the spinner and bent the top blade back.   The top cowl is gone and you can see that most of the firewall is gone and about half of the upper steel cage/fuselage is missing.  You can see that what is left of the fuselage is crushed and buckled just ahead of the rear windows.  It took a tremendous force crushing against the upper fuselage to do that.  Contact with the ground upside down might do that.  It is hard to imagine a perfectly horizontal tree branch would do it.  

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I guess I thought it was spinning from airflow just because it wasn’t feathered, but not necessarily producing power.

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14 minutes ago, Ragsf15e said:

I guess I thought it was spinning from airflow just because it wasn’t feathered, but not necessarily producing power.

Here is your pic redacted to show the prop damage and that the upper front of the steel cage and fuselage is largely missing.

I suppose it is possible that first responders cut some off but you don't see it on the grass in the upper "above shot" picture.  Also the frame/fuselage appears to be buckled right behind the front seats (at the beginning of the rear windows) and cutting by first responders would not do that.  Granted the "buckle" could be aluminum that was bent back by first responders so I might be assuming too much.

 

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Edited by 1980Mooney
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40 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

Another angle.  The upper fuselage definitely looks buckled behind the front seats and front/upper steel frame missing.

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Another angle - see news video

https://whdh.com/news/plane-crash-in-falmouth-kills-pilot-sends-passenger-to-hospital/

This looks just horrific.  I hope she survives.  I am amazed with all the apparent crushing forces seen elsewhere on that plane that the pilot cage is still somewhat in shape.

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