Mooney M20L PFM, N137MP: Accident occurred July 09, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA297
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 09, 2012 in Scottsdale, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/2013
Aircraft: MOONEY M20L, registration: N137MP
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The flight instructor stated that the pilot receiving instruction was practicing touch-and-go landings. On the fifth landing, the pilot flared too high, and the airplane dropped to the runway, landed hard, and bounced into the air. The flight instructor directed the pilot to “go around,” and the pilot applied power and fully retracted the flaps, which is contrary to the procedure in the pilot’s operating handbook to retract the flaps only to the 10-degree position. Both pilots stated that the engine did not respond. A video recording showed that the airplane’s altitude was about 30 feet above the ground when it rolled left to a bank angle of about 90 degrees. The left wing tip impacted the runway, and the airplane cartwheeled and came to rest upright about 200 feet left of the runway centerline.
Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that two O-ring seals were installed on each of the engine’s six fuel injector nozzles, whereas the engine’s maintenance manual called for the installation of only one O-ring seal on each nozzle. However, flow testing showed that placing two O-rings on the nozzles had no effect on the operation of the fuel system. No other anomalies were found, and the examination and testing indicated that the engine was capable of operating normally and producing its rated horsepower. Further, the damage to the propeller blades was consistent with the engine operating at a mid-range to high power setting at impact. The airplane’s left roll to a steep bank angle is consistent with the engine developing power as the airplane enters an aerodynamic stall, which resulted in a torque roll to the left.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control during an aborted landing, and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a bounced landing, and his premature flap retraction while performing a go-around maneuver.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On July 9, 2012, at 0937 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20L, N137MP, was substantially damaged when it experienced a hard landing followed by a loss of control at Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, Arizona. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the pilot receiving instruction received minor injuries. The airplane was being operated by the private pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. A flight plan had not been filed for the local instructional flight, which had originated about 35 minutes before the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
The pilot/owner had purchased the airplane in Florida a few days before the accident. He and the flight instructor flew the airplane back to the Phoenix area together, arriving about 2 to 3 days before the accident. The purpose of the flight was to get more flight experience in his recently acquired airplane. The flight instructor reported that the pilot was practicing touch-and-go landings on runway 21. On the fifth landing, the pilot flared too high, and the airplane dropped to the runway and landed hard. The airplane bounced back into the air, and the flight instructor directed the pilot to “go around.” The pilot pushed the power lever to the full open position and then moved his right hand to the flap handle. The pilot reported that he moved the flaps to the up position. Both the pilot and the flight instructor reported that the engine “did not respond.”
The flight instructor stated that, in order to prevent the airplane from stalling, he pushed the nose of the airplane down and attempted to level the wings. He said that his actions “resulted in the airplane impacting the ground in a fairly level attitude, which minimized the severity of the impact.” He reported that, after it impacted terrain, the airplane veered off the left side of the runway. The flight instructor said that he inspected the wreckage after the accident and found the flaps in the full up position.
Two video cameras documented the accident. One was located at the control tower, and a second one was located approximately 1,700 feet from the threshold of runway 21 and approximately 575 feet to the left of the runway centerline. A study of the videos was performed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Division, Washington, D.C., headquarters. The second camera was located much closer to the accident, and its images display the unfolding events more accurately. The video showed that, after the airplane’s hard landing, which was about 500 feet from the runway threshold, it became airborne and reached an altitude of between 24 to 37 feet. The video further showed that the accident airplane entered a left bank with an increasing bank angle that reached approximately 90 degrees. The left wingtip contacted the ground, and the airplane cartwheeled and came to rest upright heading opposite to the direction of landing approximately 1,330 feet from the initial touchdown point.
The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land airplane, land airplane, and instrument ratings. He held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine land airplane, land airplane, and instrument ratings. He held a second-class medical certificate, which was issued on January 26, 2011. The flight instructor’s most recent flight review was on November 4, 2011. He reported that he had 6,397 hours of flight experience and had given 5,066 hours of flight instruction.
The pilot receiving instruction held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land airplane and instrument ratings. He reported that he had approximately 1,400 hours of flight experience with about 400 hours in Mooney aircraft. The accident aircraft records indicate that the pilot had approximately 17 hours of flight experience in it since he purchased it a week before the accident. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on May 1, 2012.
The airplane was a single-engine, propeller-driven, four seat airplane, with dual flight controls, which was manufactured by Mooney Aviation Company in 1988. Its maximum takeoff gross weight was 2,900 pounds. It was powered by a Continental IO-550-N reciprocating, direct drive, air-cooled, fuel injected engine, which had a maximum takeoff rating of 310 horsepower at sea level. It was equipped with a McCauley 3-blade propeller.
The flight instructor reported on the NTSB’s Pilot/Operator Accident Report form that the airplane received its last annual inspection on July 2, 2012. The airframe had 1,945 flight hours on it at the time of the last inspection. A new engine was installed in the airplane in 2004; at the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated a total of approximately 123 hours.
The wing flaps on the Mooney M20L are electrically operated and interconnected through push-pull tubes and bellcranks. Nominal travel is 0 to 33 degrees and limit switches prevent travel above or below these limits. The flap position is controlled by a switch located on the lower control console. The electric flap position indicator, which shows full up, takeoff (10 degrees) and full down positions, is located in the center of the instrument panel. The flaps are lowered by holding the spring-loaded switch in the FLAPS DOWN position until the flaps reach the desired angle of deflection. Simply releasing downward pressure on the switch allows it to return to the OFF position stopping the flaps at any desired intermediate position during extension. When the FLAPS UP position is selected, the flaps will retract to the full up position unless the switch is returned to the neutral position for a desired intermediate setting.
The airplane manufacturer’s Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) states:
Pushing the switch to the UP position retracts the flaps completely.
The POH lists the following procedure for GO AROUND/ABORTED LANDING:
1. Power Lever full power
2. Wing Flaps TAKEOFF POSITION (10 degrees)
3. Trim as desired
To minimize the control wheel forces during maneuvering, timely nose-down trimming is recommended to counteract the nose up pitching moment as power is increased and/or the flaps are retracted.
4. Airspeed 75 KIAS
5. Landing Gear UP
6. Wing Flaps UP
7. Airspeed 90 KIAS
At 0935, the reported weather conditions at the Scottsdale Airport(SDL); elevation 1,510 feet), were: wind 160 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; cloud condition, clear; temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 54 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 29.92 inches mercury. The density altitude was calculated to be 4,594 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest about 1,830 feet from the threshold of runway 21 and 200 feet left of the runway centerline. It was located near the junction of taxiways B12 and B. It was longitudinally aligned on a magnetic heading of about 020 degrees. The main landing gear had collapsed and the nose wheel landing gear had separated from the fuselage; the airplane was resting on its belly. Both wings were bent up about 30 degrees from about 2/3 of the distance from the wing root to the tip. The outer 4 feet of the left wing had separated from the airplane and was found about 50 feet away.
The engine had broken free from its mounts, but was in place and attached by wires, cables, and hoses. The propeller blades were deeply scored, their leading edges were gouged, and the blades were S-bent; two of the blade tips had separated from their blades.
The airplane was equipped with a Supplemental Type Certificate modification that added additional main landing gear doors. Low Profile Inner Gear Doors, made of fiberglass, were attached to the main landing gear wheels. They covered the brake calipers and were closer to the ground than the outer (factory) main landing gear doors. The lower forward corners of these doors were found to be ground down. Two parallel marks were found by an FAA inspector about 500 feet from the runway threshold. Small flecks of paint, which matched the color of the landing gear doors, were found in the vicinity of the two runway marks. The distance between the two marks matched the distance between the two landing gear doors.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Photographs of the propeller blades were reviewed by the propeller manufacturer’s representative. The representative stated that the damage to the blades was consistent with the engine operating “in the mid-range to high power” at the time of impact.
On July 12, 2012, a team of investigators convened to examine the engine. The team consisted of an NTSB investigator, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and an engine manufacturer’s representative. The spark plugs exhibited normal electrode wear, and each magneto produced good spark when the propeller/crankshaft was rotated. All six cylinders were borescoped, and none of the cylinders, pistons, valves, or bottom spark plugs displayed any signs of operational distress. Thumb compression and suction were obtained on all six cylinders through manual rotation of the propeller, confirming crankshaft and camshaft continuity. The inspection of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated horsepower.
On August 16, 2012, the engine was further examined by an NTSB investigator. Five of the six fuel injectors were removed, and it was noted that there were two O-ring seals installed on the nozzle of each fuel injector. On August 17, 2012, the sixth fuel injector was removed by salvage yard personnel, and two O-ring seals were also found installed on the nozzle of this injector. According to the engine manufacturer’s representative, only one O-ring was to be installed on the fuel nozzles of this engine. The NTSB’s investigator-in-charge requested that the engine manufacturer perform a flow test to determine if the installation of two O-rings per nozzle rather than the specified one O-ring per nozzle would have an effect on the operation of the fuel system. The testing indicated that placing two O-rings on the nozzles did not result in a significant difference in fuel flow during bench testing.
NTSB Identification: WPR12LA297
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 09, 2012 in Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: MOONEY M20L, registration: N137MP
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On July 9, 2012, about 0930 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20L, N137MP, was substantially damaged when it experienced a hard landing followed by a loss of aircraft control at Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, Arizona. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the pilot receiving instruction received minor injuries. The airplane was being operated by the pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. A flight plan had not been filed for the local instructional flight, which had originated about 1 hour before the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
The pilot receiving instruction stated that he had performed several touch-and-go landings. He said that, during the landing flare, the airplane didn’t feel right, and the instructor took control of the airplane. The airplane landed hard and veered off the runway. The outer 4 feet of both wings were bent up approximately 45 degrees.
FAA IDENTIFICATION Regis#: 137MP Make/Model: MO20 Description: M20L Date: 07/09/2012 Time: 1632 Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N Damage: Substantial LOCATION City: SCOTTSDALE State: AZ Country: US DESCRIPTION AIRCRAFT ON LANDING WENT OFF THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY AND THE GEAR COLLAPSED, SCOTTSDALE, AZ INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 0 # Crew: 2 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: 2 # Pass: 0 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: # Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: OTHER DATA Activity: Training Phase: Landing Operation: OTHER FAA FSDO: SCOTTSDALE, AZ (WP07) Entry date: 07/10/2012
A pilot crashed his plane at the Scottsdale Municipal Airport this morning, while he was getting a flight lesson from Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield.
According to a spokeswoman for the airport, the single-engine plane ran off the runway around 9 a.m. today during a “touch-and-go” landing, which involves landing the plane and taking off again without stopping.
Both the pilot and Littlefield were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and the pilot has already been released from the hospital.
According to Littlefield’s bio — from a book he wrote about flying glass-cockpit airplanes — he knows a thing or two about how an airplane operates.
The bio says he got his private pilot license in 1973, and flight instruction has been his “primary career” since 1999.
He’s got thousands of miles as a pilot and instructor, and has a bunch of certifications that probably make no sense to anyone who doesn’t fly airplanes.
That said, Littlefield’s been telling local media outlets it’s the plane’s fault.
Littlefield’s staying the night at the hospital.
A Scottsdale City Council member remains in the hospital after the single-engine plane he was in skidded off a runway and crashed into rocks at the Scottsdale Airport on Monday morning.
Councilman Bob Littlefield was instructing a student through touch-and-go landings Monday morning when the incident occurred.
The Mooney, which the student recently bought, was coming in for a fifth touch-and-go landing about 9:30 a.m. The plane had a hard bounce, Littlefield said from his hospital bed.
Littlefield instructed his student to add power to the engine, but the engine didn’t respond properly and the plane slid off the runway.
“The engine didn’t run up like it’s suppose to,” Littlefield said.
The plane skidded off into rocks. Littlefield hit his chest on the yolk controller of the plane, but the two men were able to exit the plane safely.
The front end and two wings of the plane were badly damaged.
Littlefield will remain in the hospital overnight. The student was taken to the hospital for evaluation, but he has since been released.
Littlefield said the man had bought the plane last week and had asked the councilman for some lessons.
“I expect the plane to be totaled,” Littlefield said. “But I think we’re both just happy to be alive.”
Littlefield is known to be an active pilot and has been giving flight lessons since 1973.
CAVE CREEK, Ariz. — A plane skidded off the runway in Scottsdale Monday morning, and behind the controls were a Scottsdale city councilman and his flight student.
Both men are talking about their harrowing ordeal.
The two men who were inside this plane as it crashed at the Scottsdale airport say they are just happy to be around tonight to tell their story.
Both of them are hurt, but both of them alive.
Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield was the instructor on board. He is still in the hospital. The pilot, Steve Faliks, was released a short time ago.
Faliks has 12 years of flying experience, but took 10 years off when the Twin Towers fell. Just recently he decided to get back in the saddle.
He says they took off from Carefree Sky Ranch Airpark towards Scottsdale Airpark and was practicing “touch and go’s,” a common technique taught in flight school.
He says all of a sudden something went terribly wrong.
“The plane bounced a little bit… and the plane didn’t respond… he took the plane and I took the plane, we both tried to get it up in the air, and it didn’t go. We were lucky. It’s very rare that an engine quits on an airplane,” says Faliks.
“Apparently in the process of crashing and the plane hit, I twisted out of the shoulder harness and my chest hit the control wheel so I broke my sternum,” Littlefield told us by phone.
“I was thinking about the irony of it,” he continued. “I survived two tours in Vietnam without a scratch, here I come and crash an airplane. The engine failed to respond, it’s like if you pushed the throttle on your car and nothing happened. It wasn’t the student’s fault, he did exactly what I told him to do.”
The plane belonged to Faliks and he says he recently flew it back from Florida. He says he can’t imagine what would’ve happened if the engine failed on that trip.
Two people are hospitalized after their single-engine plane skidded off a runway and into rocks at Scottsdale Airport on Monday morning, officials said.
The Mooney was doing touch-and-go landings when it went off the runway, said Lynn Lunsford, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The two occupants of the plane were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after the plane went down about 9:30 a.m., said Patti Jo Angelini, spokeswoman for the Scottsdale Fire Department. The front end and two wings of the plane were badly damaged.
The Scottsdale Airport runway is closed at this time, said Capt. Brian Read of the Scottsdale Fire Department.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – A small plane has crashed at the Scottsdale Airport, injuring two people on board.
Airport spokeswoman Sarah Ferrara says the plane crashed just off the runway at the airport around 9:30 a.m., although she didn’t know whether the aircraft had been landing or taking off.
She says that the two people on board had minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital.
The runway was shut down after the crash, and the airport was working to clear the scene to reopen it.
News footage showed significant damage to the plane, including a crushed nose, bent and broken wings and no visible landing gear.