Mooney Mite Accident Reports Since 1970

(See accidents before 1970)

Click on the N-Number to see the accident report:
NTSB File Ref. Date Location Model N-Number Damage Pilot/Aircraft
NYC70FFA21 9-May-70 Mill Point, NY M-18LA 494M fatal/destroyed
NYC71DFJ17 29-Nov-70 Kirkville, NY M-18LA N4105 minor/substantial
CHI71DBA19 2-Dec-70 Edinburg, IN M-18C N4061 minor/substantial
DEN72AD047 16-Apr-72 West Point, UT M-18C N336M fatal/destroyed
MKC72DCG54 14-May-72 Lees Summit, MO M-18C N486M minor/substantial
LAX73FUQ25 26-Mar-73 San Fernando, CA M-18L N361A serious/substantial
IAD74FLJ44 19-May-74 Erwin, NC M-18L N378A minor/substantial
NYC76DNA23 27-Dec-75 Falmouth, MA M-18C N4094 minor/substantial
CHI77FEK21 12-Jun-77 Warsaw, OH M-18L N3166K minor/substantial
FTW79DA008 29-Oct-78 Wilson, TX M-18LA N4086 fatal/destroyed
FTW80FA054 9-Mar-80 Saginaw, TX M-18C N4156 fatal/destroyed
MIA82DLA02 17-Oct-81 St. Augustine, FL M-18L N396A none/substantial
FTW84LA207 21-Apr-84 Lockhart, TX M-18C N4083 serious/substantial
MIA84FA164 10-May-84 Sugar Loaf Key, FL M-18C N487M fatal/destroyed
FTW84FA302 07-Jul-84 New Iberia, LA M-18LA N4090 fatal/destroyed
LAX86LA234 26-May-86 Lakeport, CA M-18C N4146 minor/substantial
LAX87LA231 08-Jun-87 Maricopa, CA M-18L N115C serious/substantial
ATL87LA236 22-Aug-87 Mt. Airy, NC M-18C N4129 minor/substantial
ATL88FA025 01-Nov-87 Camden, OH M-18C-55 N4157 fatal/destroyed
N/A 01-May-93 Priddis, AB M-18C C-GYQO fatal/destroyed
SEA96LA148 09-Jul-96 Beaver Marsh, OR M-18LA N4077 serious/substantial
CHI04LA016 18-Oct-03 Pana, IL Oostdik M-18-X N53TW serious/substantial
NYC06LA231 2006-09-27 Lexington, KY M-18L N397A none/substantial
NYC07CA113 2007-05-06 Bessemer, AL M-18L N119C none/substantial

Accident occurred Saturday, October 18, 2003 in Pana, IL
Aircraft: Oostdik M-18-X, registration: N53TW
Injuries: 1 Serious.
On October 18, 2003, about 1230 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Oostdik M-18-X, N53TW, collided with trees while taking off to the south on a private airstrip (1,600 foot long, grass) in Pana, Illinois. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Taylorville, Illinois.

The pilot stated he began his takeoff roll and lifted off about 50 miles per hour. The pilot stated that during initial climb he noticed his brother standing by a nearby hangar. The pilot "waved" to his brother, and only remembers hearing tree limbs hitting the airplane before the airplane impacted the terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's attention was diverted to a person on the ground which resulted in his failure to maintain altitude/clearance with trees. A contributing factor to the accident were trees.

Accident occurred 12 May 1993, 07:55 near PRIDDIS, AB
Type of aircraft: Mooney M-18C, registration: C-GYQO
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
The pilot had departed from a private airstrip near Calgary on a flight to California to attend a Mooney Mite owner's fly-in. He had retracted the gear and was about one half of a mile from the airstrip at a low altitude when the engine lost power. The pilot was attempting a forced approach into a field ahead of and at right angles to his original heading when the aircraft descended rapidly. The right hand wingtip contacted the ground and the aircraft cartwheeled through 180 degrees before coming to a stop. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The following was seen as being directly relevant to the occurrence.
Flying training manuals stress the importance of landing the aircraft straight ahead after a power failure at low level on departure.

The pilot attempted to glide to a field requiring a steep turn to the right.

The fuel shutoff valve was found to be positioned approximately 20 degrees of rotation from the off position (of 90 degrees total travel from full off to full on). This position effectively stopped any fuel from flowing to the engine.

The fuel shutoff valve that was installed did not conform to the original drawings or the parts manual listing. This replacement valve installation left the handle more exposed to interference than the original installation. When reaching forward to move the undercarriage retraction handle, the pilot's right arm can move the fuel shut-off valve.

The aircraft was about 75 lbs. (8.8%) over the gross weight limit with the centre of gravity (C of G) about 2.57 inches (122.4%) aft of the aft limit. The Transport Canada Flight Training Manual states "An aircraft so loaded could have such an excessive aft centre of gravity that the pilot would have control problems beginning from take-off, and the normal stall characteristics might change drastically."
The aircraft had been imported with a non-standard fuel tank that doubled the fuel capacity and weight in the aft fuselage. No approval or documentation could be found for this tank installation, and the weight and balance report had not been amended.

Accident occurred JUN-07-87 at MARICOPA, CA
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18L, registration: N115C
Injuries: 1 Serious
  During a pleasure flight the pilot stated that while on final approach to a private airstrip, he noticed some turbulence. On short final the pilot stated that a severe wind shear dropped the aircraft into a ravine. The pilot added full power, however, the aircraft did not gain sufficient altitude to clear an embankment. The aircraft collided with this embankment near the approach end of the runway shearing off the landing gear and the aircraft slid down the runway on its underside.

Probable Cause: Weather condition. Downdraft
Contributing Factors: Weather condition: Turbulence
Weather evaluation: Misjudged by Pilot in command
Remedial action: Not attained by Pilot in command 
Compensation for wind conditions: Attempted by Pilot in command
Landing gear: Separation 
Terrain condition: Dirt bank

Accident occurred JUL-09-96 at BEAVER MARSH, OR
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18LA, registration: N4077
Injuries: 1 Serious. Photo
  On July 9, 1996, approximately 1241 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M18LA, N4077, registered to Bryce Boylan, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain near Beaver Marsh, Oregon. The private pilot, the sole occupant was seriously injured.

The 14 CFR 91 flight originated at Tulelake, California approximately 11:30 and was en route to College Place, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions existed in the area. The pilot stated in a telephone interview that he had topped off both tanks in Tulelake and expected to have enough fuel to make it all the way to College Place. However, he planned on stopping in Redmond, Oregon, for fuel anyway. During the trip, he transferred fuel from the lower tank to the upper tank and the transfer pump seemed to be working normally. He was maintaining about 2000 feet above the ground level and about 90-95 miles per hour indicated airspeed. He was not using any carburetor heat.

In the Beaver Creek area, about 78 nautical miles from the departure airport, the engine started slowing down. He attempted to transfer fuel using the transfer pump but wasn't sure it was working. After about 10-15 seconds the engine was wind milling, so the pilot attempted a landing on a road. The next thing he could recall was someone cutting him out of the wreckage.

In the pilot's written accident report, he stated that " is my feeling that I ran out of gas..." and "...tanks were both filled before leaving Tulelake..." The salvage crew which picked up the aircraft about 6 hours after the accident found fuel running from the fuel tank and the ground was saturated with fuel. They also documented the wreckage location and two trees that had been damaged.

Examination of the flight controls, engine, transfer pump and fuel system by FAA inspectors did not reveal any discrepancies. There were no weather observations taken in the Beaver Creek area. Weather conditions listed in this report came from Redmond, Oregon, about 75 miles north of the accident site. Using a lapse rate of 3 degrees Centigrade, the conditions there at 2000 feet above ground level would have been between "serious icing- descent power" and "moderate icing- cruise power" as listed on the Carburetor Icing chart published by Transport Canada.

Accident occurred APR-21-84 at LOCKHART, TX
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N4083
Injuries: 1 Serious.
  The pilot related that the aircraft was not performing well from the initial takeoff roll. Since he had only previously flown the aircraft in winter months & the temp was quite warm, he thought the lack of performance was due to the temp. He stayed in the traffic pattern & made a touch-&-go landing. He did not use the carb heat since he thought the air was not conducive to carb ice. After the touch-&-go, the engine was even more sluggish. On downwind, he noticed an indication of zero oil pressure & elected to turn directly to the runway for an immediate landing. He decided not to extend the gear so as to extend his glide & minimize damage, subsequently, he contacted the ground, left wing 1st, while trying to align the aircraft with the runway. An exam of the engine revealed no indication of internal failure. Approximately 2 qt. of oil were found in the engine & an undetermined amount had drained out at the crash site. The temp & dew point were 80 & 50 deg. According to icing probability charts carb icing was possible at or below rated power. Automotive fuel was used.

Probable Cause: Carburetor: ice
Carburetor heat not used by Pilot in command 
Contributing Factors: Carburetor icing conditions

Accident occurred JUL-07-84 at NEW IBERIA, LA
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18LA, registration: N4090
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
  A pilot witness observed the aircraft in a 20 to 30 degree dive at high speed just prior to the accident. He reported that at an altitude of about 1200 to 1300 ft, the aircraft began a pull-up. As the pull-up was started, the outboard portion of the aircraft's left wing folded upward & the aircraft entered an uncontrolled dive & crashed. The outboard 3 ft of the left wing was found relatively intact. The remainder of the wing was broken in numerous pieces. Also, the left aileron was bent upward about 3 ft from its outboard end. An exam of the wooden structure revealed discoloration in the fracture area. Evidence of wood deterioration & decay was found in localized areas around wing fasteners. A toxicological check of the pilot's blood showed some alcohol (0.04%); however, the pilot's body had not been immediately removed from the wreckage. The amount of alcohol due to putrefaction was not determined. The pilot's last medical certificate was dated 12/18/81.

Probable Cause: Wing, spar deteriorated
Maintenance inspection of aircraft inadequate.
Wing spar failure, total

Accident occurred MAY-26-86 at LAKEPORT, CA
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N4146
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
  The pilot indicated that there was a gusty left crosswind present during landing. The aircraft drifted right off the 40 ft wide asphalt runway and collided with a small ditch and dirt bank. The aircraft then nosed over into the airport drainage ditch.

Probable Cause: Poor compensation for wind conditions
Contributing Factors: Crosswind
Lack of experience in type of aircraft

Accident occurred NOV-01-87 at CAMDEN, OH
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C 55, registration: N4157
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
  The pilot took off downwind and did not use all of the available runway. With insufficient airspeed, the aircraft stalled shortly after takeoff. The pilot was unable to recover within the altitude remaining and collided with an oncoming train. (See the NTSB interview with airfield owner, Fred Schmidt)

Probable Cause: Necessary airspeed not attained.
Lift-off premature.
Takeoff not aborted
Contributing Factors: Tailwind 
Wrong runway selected.
Inattentive pilot
All available runway not used.

Accident occurred MAY-10-84 at SUGAR LOAF KEY, FL 
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N487M 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
  The aircraft was observed making several passes over a friends house. At the end of the third pass during, a climbing left turn, the right wing separated from the aircraft. Inspection of the wreckage revealed wood rot in the main wing spar. The last known inspection for wood and glue joint deterioration was performed in 1982 by the previous owner.

Probable Cause: Deterioration caused total wing separation
Contributing Factors: Improper maintenance and compliance with ADs by maintenance personnel

Accident occurred AUG-22-87 at MT. AIRY, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA A185F, registration: N3463Y
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
  After Cessna 185, N3462Y, entered the traffic pattern for runway 18, the Unicom operator warned the pilot of another aircraft in the pattern. The other aircraft was a Mooney Mite, N4129. The Cessna pilot continued his approach, but didn't see the Mooney Mite until after the Cessna touched down. When the Cessna pilot lowered his nose in a wheel landing, he saw the other aircraft coming from the opposite direction. The Mooney Mite pilot said he was on the first 1/3 of runway 36 when he saw the Cessna on the first 1/3 of runway 18. Both pilots steered to the right. As the Cessna went off the runway, the pilot was applying full brakes. He said the aircraft "mired down in the grass" and flipped over. The Mooney Mite did not have an electrical system (no radio or lights). The sun had just set and the runway lights were on. According to the Mooney Mite pilot, there was still "good light" and the visibility was good. The Cessna pilot reported the wind was calm. 

Probable Cause: Improper planning/decision by pilot of other aircraft
Improper use of brakes(normal) by pilot in command
Contributing Factors: Light condition, dusk
Terrain condition, soft 

Event occurred Saturday, May 09, 1970 in MILL POINT, NY
Aircraft: MOONEY M18LA, registration: N494M
Injuries: 1 fatal
  Private Pilot, age 50, 661 total hours, unknown hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 15:00
Damage - Destroyed
Departure point: Lumberton, NJ
Intended destination: Piseco, NY
Type of Accident: Collided with trees
Phase of Operation: In flight
Probable Cause: Undetermined. Observers saw aircraft descending in circle gradually losing altitude. No malfunction found.

Event occurred Sunday, November 29, 1970 in KIRKVILLE, NY
Aircraft: MOONEY M18LA, registration: N4105
Injuries: minor
  Commercial Flight Instructor, age 35, 828 total hours, 0 hours in type, instrument rated.
Time - 15:00
Damage - Substantial
Name of airport: Kirkville
Type of Accident: Stall/mush
Phase of Operation: Take-off, initial climb
Probable Cause: Failure to attain flying speed, lack of familiarity with aircraft.

Event occurred Wednesday, December 02, 1970 in EDINBURG, IN
Aircraft: MOONEY M18C, registration: N4061
Injuries: none
  Student Pilot, age 55, 622 total hours, unknown hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 17:30
Damage - Substantial
Departure point: Terre Haute, IN
Intended Destination: Edinburg, IN
Type of Accident: Collided with object, gear collapsed
Phase of Operation: Landing roll
Probable Cause: Pilot's private strip. Overload failure due to ruts 4 inches deep 50 feet from end of strip. Pilot aware of ruts, but failed to avoid them.

Event occurred Sunday, April 16, 1972 in WEST POINT, UT
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N336M
Injuries: 1 fatal
  Private Pilot, age 38, 947 total hours, 92 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 16:20
Damage - Destroyed
Departure point: Unknown
Intended destination: Unknown
Type of Accident: Engine failure, stall
Phase of Operation: Low pass, final approach
Probable Cause: Pilot in command exercised poor judgment and improper operation of flight controls. Fuel starvation. Pilot in command diverted attention from operation of aircraft, failed to obtain/maintain flying speed. Unwarranted low flying, partial loss of power during low pass over friends house to drop boat prop. Engine sputtered during steep pull up, pilot lost control.

Event occurred Sunday, May 14, 1972 in LEES SUMMIT, MO
Aircraft: MOONEY M18C, registration: N486M
Injuries: minor
  Private Pilot, age 27, 109 total hours, 53 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 16:00
Damage - Substantial
Name of airport: McComas
Departure point: Lees Summit, MO
Intended destination: Local
Type of Accident: Stall
Phase of Operation: Landing final approach
Probable Cause: Pilot in command failed to maintain flying speed. Pilot's last flight was in March, 1972. Made four touch and go landings before accident.

Event occurred Monday, March 26, 1973 in SAN FERNANDO, CA
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18L, registration: N361A
Injuries: 1 serious
  Private Pilot, age 50, 5000 total hours, 195 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 16:00
Damage - Substantial
Name of airport: San Fernando
Departure point: San Fernando, CA
Intended destination: Local
Type of Accident: Engine failure, collided with: fence
Phase of Operation: Initial climb, takeoff aborted
Probable Cause: Pilot in command failed do use carburetor heat control when there was carburetor ice. The weather conditions were conducive to carburetor/induction system icing. There is no record of a weather briefing. The engine lost power and the aircraft slid into a fence.

Event occurred Sunday, May 19, 1974 in ERWIN, NC
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18L, registration: N378A
Injuries: minor
  Private Pilot, age 34, 188 total hours, 100 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 09:30
Damage - Substantial
Departure point: Rock Hill, NC
Intended destination: Rocky Mount, NC
Last enroute stop: Erwin, NC
Type of Accident: Gear collapsed
Phase of Operation: Landing roll
Probable Cause: Pilot in command selected unsuitable terrain, made inadequate pre-flight preparation. Had to make a precautionary landing off airport due to low fuel and weather conditions. Landed in a plowed field.

Event occurred Saturday, December 27, 1975 in FALMOUTH, MA
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N4094
Injuries: none
  Student Pilot, age 40, 135 total hours, 18 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 15:56
Damage - Substantial
Name of airport: Otis AFB
Departure point: Falmouth, MA
Intended Destination: Local
Type of Accident: Wheels up landing
Phase of Operation: Landing touchdown
Probable Cause: Pilot in command failed to follow approved procedures. Takeoff from muddy runway at Falmouth airport resulted in mud that froze, preventing landing gear extension. The aircraft diverted to Otis.

Event occurred Sunday, June 12, 1977 in WARSAW, OH
Aircraft: MOONEY M18L, registration: N3166K
Injuries: minor
  Commercial Pilot, age 54, 3435 total hours, 90 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 10:50
Damage - Substantial
Departure point: Cincinnati, OH
Intended Destination: Youngstown, OH
Last enroute stop: Newark, OH
Type of Accident: Engine failure, collided with fence
Phase of Operation: Normal cruise, landing.
Probable Cause: Number 3 exhaust valve failed. Pilot purposely hit fence during off-airport emergency landing.

Event occurred Sunday, October 29, 1978 in WILSON, TX
Aircraft: MOONEY M18LA, registration: N4086
Injuries: 1 fatal
  Commercial flight instructor, age 22, 566 total hours, 2 in type, instrument rated.
Time: 16:35
Damage: Destroyed
Departure point: Lubbock, TX
Intended Destination: Local
Type of Accident: Airframe failure
Phase of Operation: In flight acrobatics
Probable cause: Pilot exercised poor judgement. Wood in airframe and control surfaces was deteriorated, separated in flight. Acrobatics not authorized.

Event occurred Sunday, March 09, 1980 in SAGINAW, TX
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18C, registration: N4156
Injuries: 1 fatal
  Private Pilot, age 55, 543 total hours, 146 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 07:55
Damage - Destroyed
Name of airport: Red Oliver Farm
Departure point: Springtown, TX
Intended destination: Lake Murray, OK
Type of Accident: Stall, spin
Phase of Operation: Low pass
Probable Cause: Pilot in command failed to obtain/maintain flying speed. Diverted attention from operation of aircraft. Witness observed aircraft stall/spin after pilot made slow pass over airport to signal other pilots to takeoff.

Event occurred Saturday, October 17, 1981 in ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY M-18L, registration: N396A
Injuries: none
  Private Pilot, age 34, 131 total hours, 14 hours in type, not instrument rated.
Time - 13:55
Damage - Substantial
Name of airport: St. Augustine
Departure point: St. Augustine, FL
Intended destination: Local
Type of Accident: Wheels up
Phase of Operation: Landing
Probable Cause: Pilot in command failed to assure gear was down and locked.

Accident occurred Friday, September 29, 2006 in Lexington, KY Aircraft: Mooney M-18L, registration: N397A Injuries: 1 Uninjured. This is preliminary information.

On September 29, 2006, at 1330, a Mooney M-18L, N397A, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Lexington, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which departed the Madison Airport (I39), Richmond, Kentucky, at 1300, and was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane's engine lost power while in cruise flight. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to restart the engine, and then performed a forced landing to a field. During the landing, the airplane was substantially damaged.

Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector revealed that the fuel tanks and carburetor fuel bowl contained fuel. Examination of the magnetos revealed they did not produce spark when tested.

Both magnetos were retained for further examination.

NTSB Brief of Accident adopted 2007-12-20:

After the airplane reached its cruising altitude of 3,000 feet, the engine lost power. The pilot cycled the magnetos and applied carburetor heat; however, engine power was not regained. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a field, during which the airplane impacted a fence. Examination of the engine revealed the magnetos did not produce spark when tested. The magnetos were disassembled and it was noted that the left magneto had a shorted condenser and the right magneto points were almost closed. The right magneto points were properly adjusted; the magneto was tested and produced spark. According to the aircraft maintenance records, the magnetos were last overhauled 40 years prior to the accident, and had accumulated 500 hours of operation since then.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.
The failure of both magnetos which resulted in a loss of engine power during cruise flight.

Accident occurred at 1600 CDT, Saturday, May 6, 2007 in Bessemer, AL. Mooney M-18L, registration: N119C, S/N 51. Injuries: 1 minor.

After taking off from runway 5, the pilot of a Mooney M18-L remained in the traffic pattern to practice landings. The pilot lined up on the final approach to the runway with 10 degrees of wing flaps extended, and utilized the visual approach slope indicator to adjust his glide path. After passing over the runway end identifier lights, he then turned to line up with the grass between the runway and taxiway, to practice a soft field landing. His intent was to touchdown just past a taxiway that ran perpendicular to his flight path. As the airplane approached the perpendicular taxiway, "the plane dropped suddenly" with no change of "engine power or tone." The airplane then touched down hard, crossed the edge of the perpendicular taxiway, and the landing gear collapsed, substantially damaging the airplane. Winds about the time of the accident were 045 degrees at 8 knots gusting to 15 knots.

NTSB Brief of Accident adopted 2007-06-27: