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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 206116
Last updated: 21 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic M20T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Mooney M20K
Registration: N123JN
C/n / msn: 25-0060
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Bellingham International Airport -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Snohomish, WA (S43)
Destination airport:Bellingham, WA (BLI)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The private pilot was conducting a cross-country flight in dark night visual meteorological conditions. Flight track data indicated that the airplane flew direct toward the destination airport over mountainous terrain that was depicted on navigation products. As the airplane approached the destination airport, the pilot initiated a descent from 4,300 ft mean sea level (msl). About 14 miles south of the airport, the pilot requested and received clearance to conduct a straight-in approach and was instructed to report 3 miles from the runway; no further communications were received from the pilot. The airplane's groundspeed and flight track were consistent throughout the descent, and the airplane was last captured on a northwesterly heading at an altitude of 1,975 ft msl near the accident site. Evidence at the site was consistent with a wings-level, high-speed impact with treetops on a ridge at an elevation of 1,900 ft msl about 9 miles south-southeast of the destination airport.

Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Downloaded engine data monitor information indicated that the engine was operating normally until impact.

Autopsy of the pilot indicated no evidence of an incapacitating event. The airplane's consistent flight track, groundspeed, and descent rate and its high-speed, wings-level impact is consistent with controlled flight into terrain. Due to the dark night conditions and lack of ground lighting in the vicinity of the accident site, it is likely that the pilot did not see the terrain as he descended toward the destination airport.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain during a visual approach in dark night visual meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 6 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

13-Feb-2018 09:03 gerard57 Added
13-Feb-2018 16:01 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Feb-2018 16:08 Anon. Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]
13-Feb-2018 18:20 Captain Adam Updated [Operator]
13-Feb-2018 19:02 bovine Updated [Source]
14-Feb-2018 07:54 goMittygo Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Feb-2018 15:31 goMittygo Updated [Source]
15-Aug-2020 16:01 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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