December 7, 2006, Summerscille, W.V. / Mooney M20R


The airplane was destroyed during a forced landing at about 1300 Eastern time, fatally injuring the solo Commercial pilot. While en route on an IFR flight plan, the pilot told ATC he had “engine problems” and needed “the next VFR airport.” Subsequently, the controller asked the pilot if he needed to climb, and the pilot replied he needed to descend “right away to get a warmer temperature.” The controller then cleared the pilot to descend to 11,000 feet, which was acknowledged, and followed by issuing a clearance to 7000 feet.

After being offered Roanoke, Va., as a nearby VFR airport, the pilot told ATC, “…yes, at a lower altitude, maybe the engine catches again. I think I have some ice somewhere in my engine. Shortly thereafter, the pilot told ATC, “I dont really think Ill make it that far,” and, “I need to get something closer.” The pilot also reported, “out of ice, but not in VMC.”

Soon, the pilot told ATC, “need something closer,” and the controller then stated that the only other airport she had was Summersville at 11 oclock and 13 miles, which the pilot responded, “Okay, do it, do it, do it.” The requested vectors, and the controller advised the airport was on a heading of 120 degrees, 11 oclock and 12 miles. Shortly, the controller updated the heading to 150 degrees, which the pilot acknowledged. The controller then told the pilot to maintain 4700 feet, if able, and the pilot responded, “not able.” About eight minutes, 20 seconds into the event, the pilot reported that he was at 4000 feet. There were no further transmissions from the accident aircraft.

According to a farmer, he was outside when he heard the airplane “whoosh” overhead, through a snow squall. He saw it disappear over a hill, then saw a ball of fire and smoke.


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