The pilot of the Mooney M20J and passenger were on the return leg of a cross-country flight originating from Tulsa International Airport (TUL) in Oklahoma.
Before departing from his home airfield, the pilot filed the outbound and return legs for the instrument flight rules flight as “GPS direct.”
At the time of takeoff the surface wind was reported as 17 knots gusting to 24 knots with ceilings at 2,000 feet.
Shortly after departure, the pilot contacted air traffic control and was given a clearance to 6,000 feet and an amended flight routing. About five minutes later the airplane disappeared from radar.
Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the airplane at a steep angle of descent and a high rate of speed before it crashed and burned near Collinsville, Okla. Both the pilot and passenger were killed.
The wreckage was largely fragmented. The airplane’s bottom skin panel was located about 1.4 miles from the accident site. Investigators determined that it is likely the skin panel separated during the high-speed descent.
Review of radar data revealed the airplane climbed to about 4,300 feet and then entered a right descending turn before disappearing from radar. The reason for the pilot’s loss of control could not be determined. It was not possible to conduct an autopsy on the pilot, therefore, it could not be determined whether a medical or physiological issue contributed to the accident.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident as the pilot’s loss of control for reasons that could not be determined because an examination of the airplane did not find an abnormality that would have precluded normal operations.
NTSB Identification: CEN13FA221
This April 2013 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.