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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 183320
Last updated: 20 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic M20T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Mooney M20K
Owner/operator:Paul Connoly
Registration: G-MUNE
C/n / msn: 25-0712
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:3.3 nm North West of Eastleigh Airport, Southampton, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:Cherbourg–Maupertus Airport (CER/LFRC)
Destination airport:Southampton Airport, Eastleigh, Hampshire (SOU/EGHI)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 23 July 1988 when spun into the ground on approach and crashed 3.3 nautical miles North West of Eastleigh Airport, Southampton, Hampshire, killing both persons on board.

On 22 July 1988, the day before, the Mooney made an illegal flight to Cherbourg (it being illegal because although a CAA approved maintenance company had issued it with a 'fitness to fly' certificate, the purpose of the flight was outside the scope permitted under that regime) where it was to be demonstrated to a potential customer .

The following day the Mooney took off from Cherbourg early in the morning. The purpose of the flight (which also may have been illegal) was to fly an engineer to a meeting at Southampton Airport and, subsequently, back to Cherbourg

According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"G-MUNE called Southampton Radar at 10 nautical miles range, and was told to take up a 'racetrack' holding pattern over Hamble airfield. The pilot reported that they were at 1,500 feet, with ground contact. The ATC controller asked him to report if he lost sight of the ground, and offered either an IFR or SVFR entry into the Southampton ATC area.

Unknown to the ATC Controller, the pilot was not qualified to accept the choice of an IFR entry, and so, having accepted a SFVR entry (at 07:10 hours) the aircraft was given advisory radar positioning downwind left hand, at 1,000 feet, for runway 20 at Southampton. The pilot was then told to report when he had visual contact with the runway.

When G-MUNE was 1.5 nautical miles north east of the airfield, it had descended to 700 feet, and still having not reported a sighting of the runway, was turned by the radar controller onto a base leg of at 600 feet. At 07:14:30 the pilot declared no visual contact with the runway, and was thus turned further left onto a centreline intercept of 240 degrees. By 07:15, the pilot had still not reported visual contact of the runway, so the controller decided to direct the aircraft around for a SVFR (Surveillance Radar Approach); he instructed the pilot to climb to 1,500 feet and turn right onto 270 degrees.

Following confirmation of the climb and the heading the pilot was told to change radio frequency to the 'talkdown' radar controller. On this frequency at 07:16 hours, the pilot report 'coming up on 1,500 feet'; one minute later he was instructed to turn onto 020 degrees. The radar controller observed that, whilst still on the heading of 270 degrees, the aircraft had appeared to wander slightly off its heading, and so, when it was now seen to continue through the given heading of 020 degrees, asked if they were unable to fly headings. There was no response to this message and no further communications were received from the aircraft.

The accident site was approximately three nautical miles north west of Eastleigh (Southampton) Airport in an area of relatively flat pasture land, and at a height of about 120 feet above the airports runway level. Examination of the wreckage on site showed that the aircraft had impacted the ground with a fairly high forward speed in the region of 250 mph, with an approximate 65 degree pitch down attitude, right wing low, and spinning to the right. The landing gear was down and locked, and the flaps were retracted."

Damage to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Aircraft Destroyed". As a result the registration G-MUNE was cancelled by the CAA nine months later, on 20 March 1989 as "Destroyed"

Mooney M.20 G-MUNE had been imported into the UK in early 1988 on a US Export Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) but, despite making 14 flights after its arrival in the UK, it never had a British C of A (having failed, due to lack of climbing performance, an air test for that purpose). Thus all but two of those flights were illegal. It was also, post-accident, discovered to be significantly 'documentation lite'.


1. AAIB:
2. CAA: (G-MUNE)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

09-Jan-2016 01:14 Dr.John Smith Added
13-Jan-2016 21:53 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
13-Jan-2016 21:54 Dr.John Smith Updated [Destination airport]
20-Nov-2020 23:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description