November 3, 2009, Fairview, N.C., Mooney M20C


At 1720 Eastern time, the airplane collided with a tree while making a forced landing following loss of engine power. The airplane incurred substantial damage and the pilot and passenger received serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was filed. The pilot later stated the engine power “rolled back” while in cruise at 8000 feet msl and the propeller continued to windmill. The pilot turned on the electric fuel pump and switched fuel tanks but the engine never regained power. The pilot elected to land in an open cornfield separated into two sections by trees.

First responders reported no visual indication or odor of fuel at the accident site. The wreckage recovery crew reported no fuel was observed during the recovery process. During his preflight inspection, the pilot observed the right wing was at about of a tank and the left wing was at about tank.


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