March 3, 2013, Angel Fire, N.M., Mooney M20E Super 21


The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at about 1320 Mountain time, shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight.

Before the takeoff, an FBO employee questioned the pilot’s intent to fly in the windy weather. The pilot indicated the winds would not be a problem. Due to snow piles on the airfield, the FBO employee could not see the takeoff and next saw the airplane airborne with a significant crab angle into the wind, about 40 degrees right of the runway heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. Then employee saw the airplane’s right wing rise rapidly. The airplane rolled left and descended inverted with the airplane’s nose pointed straight down. At 1315, an automated weather observation included winds from 250 degrees at 33 knots gusting to 47 knots.


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