Apr. 17, Brooksville, Ky. / Mooney M20E


At about 17:30 EDT, a Mooney M20E was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a road near Brooksville. The pilot survived the landing without apparent injury, but collapsed and died shortly thereafter. The flight was en route from Moundsville, W.Va., to Louisville, Ky., as one of a two-airplane flight. The pilot of the other plane said the accident pilot had just purchased the Mooney. He conducted a preflight, and took 12 to 15 samples of fuel from the left tank before it was free of water. Initially, the fuel samples were pink in color. The pilot had difficulty in removing the left wing-tank fuel cap, which appeared to be of a different type than right wing-tank fuel cap. No water or discoloration was found in the fuel samples taken from the right tank The airplane took off about 15:00 but on climbout, the engine starting running rough, so the pilot returned to the airfield. Once on the ground, the engine smoothed out, and the pilot took off again, around 15:25. With the witnesss airplane in trail, the two flew across Ohio. Approaching the Kentucky border, the accident pilot radioed to the witness that his fuel pressure was going down to zero, that he had a rough running engine, and that he was going to make a precautionary landing to a road. After deplaning, the pilot talked to a number of people, then borrowed a cellular telephone to make a call. As soon as he completed the call he said he felt cold and faint. He then collapsed and could not be revived. The preliminary autopsy report indicated the cause of death to be a result of acute cardiac failure. The airplanes fuel system was checked, and about 3 ounces of dirty water were drained from the left wing. The fuel from the right wing was blue, and free of water and debris. The fuel boost pump was operated several times with the fuel injector lines disconnected, and the fuel was rust-colored with water in it. Later, the fuel was directed into coffee filters, which resulted in a pink, paraffin-like residue remaining on the filters. A review of the airplanes maintenance records showed the airplane had been flown five hours since August 1993 and only one hour between November 1997 and the start of the accident flight.


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