September 30, West Creek, N.J. / Mooney M20E


At about 1535 eastern time, a Mooney M20E struck trees after takeoff from Eagles Nest Airport, killing the pilot. Two witnesses said they heard the engine sputter and noticed the airplane was not climbing normally. The wreckage was found 176 feet west of the runway centerline and about 2,000 feet beyond the approach end of runway 14. There was no debris path and only one tree in the vicinity of the wreckage exhibited impact damage, implying a near-vertical descent. Post crash testing found traces of water in the fuel servo and fuel manifold, however investigators said that was inconclusive because the engine sat overnight before the fuel system was inspected.


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