Socal...Fire Related (Somewhat) Crash


Does It Really Matter....?
Staff member
NTSB Identification: LAX04LA028
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 26, 2003 in San Diego, CA
Aircraft: Mooney M20K, registration: N1147N
Injuries: 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 October 26, 2003, at 1419 Pacific standard time, a Mooney M20K airplane, N1147N, landed hard on a highway after a partial loss of engine power during a go-around from Montgomery Field (MYF), San Diego, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane was destroyed in a post-impact fire. The flight departed St. John's Industrial Air Park (SJN), St. Johns, Arizona, about 1200 mountain standard time. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) plan had been filed for the personal cross-country flight.

In a telephone conversation, the pilot reported that he filed IFR to BARET intersection with the intention of landing at Montgomery Field. Forest fires in the area had restricted IFR flights into the area. Prior to landing, he canceled his IFR clearance and descended below the smoke layer. During landing, the pilot executed a go-around. He applied the throttle and as the airplane began the crosswind turn, the engine lost partial power. He was unable to maintain a climb, and landed the airplane hard on Highway 163. As the airplane touched down, the right wing was torn off and the airplane impacted a divider.

The Safety Board investigator contacted Prescott Flight Service Station (FSS) regarding the accident. The pilot received a preflight weather briefing from 1120 to 1131. FSS personnel advised him that he might not be able to get into the San Diego area airports under IFR due to congestion in the area as a result of the forest fires.

A notice to airmen (NOTAM) advising the closure of the Montgomery Field tower was issued at 1152.

An aviation routine weather report (METAR) was issued at 1453. It stated in part: wind from 040 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 3/4 mile; haze; smoke; vertical visibility 1,000 feet; temperature 31 degrees Celsius ; dew point 8 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.08 inHg.
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I am assuming the METAR was for the aiport he was landing didn't specifically say. If so...BUSTED. He cancelled IFR and it was 3/4 mile vis with 1000 V V.
Sounds like someone I'd trust to fly with..
This was dumber than just busting clearances... why would you even try flying into those smoke clouds. If you can't breathe neither can your engine.

Even if thats not why his engine quit, its still a dumb thing to do; I've driven through that crap in Nocal and it was nasty and my friends van ran kinda rough, not fun to drive in, definately not fun to fly in.