Airplane Climbed To An Altitude Of 15,000 Ft For The Almost 5-Hour Flight

Location: Hanna City, IL Accident Number: CEN22FA383
Date & Time: August 13, 2022, 12:31 Local Registration: N30EV
Aircraft: Mooney Aircraft Corp. M20K Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On August 13, 2022, about 1231 central daylight time, a Mooney M20K airplane, N30EV, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Hanna City, Illinois. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The flight departed Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico, about 0639 mountain standard time, destined for Peoria International Airport (PIA), Peoria, Illinois. A review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that after departure, the airplane climbed to an altitude of 15,000 ft for the almost 5-hour flight. The data showed the flight as continuous with no stops. When the airplane was about 28 miles west of PIA, the pilot established communications with air traffic control (ATC) and reported inbound for PIA with the current weather information. The controller advised the pilot to enter a right downwind leg for runway 22. When the airplane was about 10 miles west of PIA, the pilot informed ATC that the engine lost all power. When queried if they would be able to reach PIA, the pilot stated that they would be unable. ADS-B data showed the airplane appear to line up for IL Route 116.

The last recorded data point showed the airplane traveling west and lined up for IL Route 116 at N. Pekin Lane in Hannah City about 675 ft above mean sea level (msl). Surveillance camera footage captured the airplane about 1 block east of the last data point. In the video, the landing gear was extended and the propeller appeared to be windmilling. As the airplane descended, it struck powerlines which remained embedded in the vertical stabilizer. A second video taken from inside a vehicle shows the airplane immediately after the powerline contact. The airplane continued the descent and touched down on the roadway. After touch down, the left wing impacted a railing and then a speed limit sign. The airplane continued eastbound and the left wing then impacted a power pole, which separated the left wing about 6’9” outboard of the wing root. The rest of the airplane continued until it impacted a building, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage.

A postaccident examination revealed that the left-wing fuel tank was breached during the impact and absent of fuel. The right-wing fuel tank remained intact, and when opened, only a small amount of fuel was present inside of the tank. The fuel selector was found to be on “RIGHT TANK.” The fuel strainer contained about 3 oz of fuel and the fuel line into the fuel flow divider was absent of fuel. The fuel flow divider was disassembled and no blockages were observed within the divider or fuel lines that would have prevented fuel from reaching the cylinders. The magnetos were removed and tested utilizing a drill with all leads producing bright blue spark.

A fuel receipt from Jet Center at Santa Fe indicated that 54.2 gallons of fuel was purchased for the accident airplane on August 10, 2022. A review of FAA ADS-B data revealed that following the fuel purchase, the airplane departed SAF and flew one time around the traffic pattern on a flight that lasted about 4 minutes. No additional fuel receipts were located that indicate the airplane was refueled following the flight on August 10th.