Mooney Reports (And Cirrus)

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UPDATE: As of October 2007, there have been a ten year all to many stall/spin accidents which almost always takes place in the pattern and more often than not in the base to final phase of flight. The ten year total of all Gen Av stall/spins is 404. That is about 40 of these needless fatalities per year.

Of the ten year total, only 14 of them involved Mooney aircraft, so every year there are 1.4 stall/spin accidents in Mooneys. Relatively low comparatively, but 100% more than there has to be if the patterns are simply flown correctly and not in a tight formation to the runway, but low banking leisurely turns.

“There are 5 serious General Aviation Accidents each day”! (April 1, 2009)

US survey reveals rise in general aviation maneuvering accidents
By David Learmount

Analysis of US general aviation safety trends in 2007 shows an increase in maneuvering accidents against the previous year. This accident category continues to dominate GA fatal crashes, as it has since 1999, according to the latest Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Nall report.

But the most lethal mistake pilots can make, says Nall, is a decision to continue a visual flight rules trip into instrument meteorological conditions. The chance of a resulting accident being fatal is 82%.

Maneuvering accidents, says the report, are normally the result of pilot misjudgment while carrying out “high-risk maneuvers that demonstrate questionable pilot judgment [and] others are attributable to deficiencies in basic airmanship”. In 2007 they represented 20.2% of fatal crashes, but only 6.7% of all accidents.

Nall attributes a “fatality” index to each category, indicating the likelihood of death in the event of any given type of accident, and “maneuvering”, at 56%, is the second most lethal after weather-related crashes.

Weather-related accidents mostly involve a pilot decision to continue a VFR trip into IMC, says the Nall report.

Landing accidents are the most common GA mishaps, representing 30.5% of all incidents, but causing only 3.2% of fatalities. These are mostly the result of low experience or lack of currency. More modern aircraft types and a greater availability of basic simulation do not appear to be having a beneficial effect on this, says Nall.

Overall, says Nall, the accident rate was fairly steady at 6.7 per 100,000 flying hours, but it is up compared with 2006′s rate of 6.06 and 2000′s best ever of 6.03. Meanwhile, fatal accidents have been following a downward trend for the past three years, reaching 1.18 fatal accidents per 100,000 flying hours. The best rate was 1.11 in 1999.

I have decided to do a monthly page report based on the NTSB list of aircraft accidents involving Mooney M20 aircraft. For the longest time I have followed the monthly list of accidents and there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that although general aviation accident rates are improving dramatically with time, there are all too many accidents even today. The good news is that there are months that go by whereby there is not even a single report of a Mooney accident while the pages are full of the “competition” aircraft. Part of the reason for that is the ratio of Mooneys vs. Cessna for instance because Cessna has built more private aircraft than anyone by far, however, the fact remains that per capita, the Mooney is at the top of the safety chain, especially in the fatal accident category. This makes sense because only the Mooney gives you that steel roll cage which is light years ahead in passenger protection because few if any aircraft uses that kind of structure. Secondly, even though the Mooney is used for long distance travel in all kinds of weather, the Mooney simply will not come apart on you in the sky which doesn’t mean you cannot lose control, just that heaven forbid you get in to a storm, you have the best chance of keeping the airframe together in the Mooney.

Aviation accidents are a reality and no one enjoys knowing that fact, but perhaps if we keep an educated eye on the number of accidents and the reasons why, perhaps we can detect a trend and armed with that fact will help keep our eyes toward those mistakes made that led to an accident and we can somehow avoid making the same mistakes and thus lower the accident rate. This information is not intended to insult or embarrass the living or the dead. If “Pilot Error” is noted, there may have been contributing factors, however Pilot Error may include some mechanical fault or circumstances which contributed, but a fault that the pilot should have been able to recover from or made a different choice that could or would have affected the outcome. Should anyone have any further information or input on an accident, we welcome your input and may elect to include that information within the accident description below. It should be taken in to consideration that the actual number of each brand of aircraft varies considerably with Cessna as top seller overall with Cirrus on the low end of the spectrum due to the relative short time in production. Because this information is provided by the NTSB, Coast to Coast Aircraft cannot be responsible for the content provided by the NTSB.

You may find it interesting as I have that most Mooney accidents involve the landing phase of operation and the majority of those are Non Fatal. What can we glean from this? Learn to land a Mooney from someone who knows the animal and practice!

This list will begin with the newest accidents and will digress down the list and we will track the 12 most recent months.

For the past 12 months, there were the following accidents which include singles and light twins. Both are normally used for private use by private pilots:

Mooney: Total accidents Between October 2006 and September 2007: 24: Accidents involving Fatalities: 8.

Cessna: Total Accidents During the Same Time Period: 477. Accidents involving Fatalities: 76 (includes all Cessna Recip. Aircraft including light twins).

Piper: Total Accidents During the Same Time Period: 235. Accidents involving Fatalities: 58 (includes all Piper Recip. Aircraft including light twins)

Beechcraft: Total Accidents During the same Time Period: 88. Accidents involving Fatalities: 30

Cirrus: Total Accidents During the same Time Period: 16. Accidents involving Fatalities: 4 (note) Cirrus has made a huge improvement from the previous 12 months yet still carries about the highest accident per number of aircraft ratio for any aircraft in its class. I believe the cost of insuring a Cirrus bares that out as well. I had sent a request to the insurance company I usually recommend my customers check with: Tom Johnson of Scottsdale, AZ, and while he had good things to say about the Cirrus, these were the downsides:

“My experience with the Mooney versus Cirrus is pretty dramatic. The Mooney is FAR FAR easier to get insurance. I can put a student pilot in a 231 Turbo for a very reasonable cost. All of the underwriters like Mooneys and offer great rates on them.

Probably only 20% to 30% the cost of insurance on a Cirrus. I have a hard time bad-mouthing the Cirrus, as I think it is a great and successful design but the Mooney is a time-proven system and for sure the insurance companies are more comfortable putting pilots in them than the Cirrus.

This is proven by the premiums on the airplane and the types of pilots I can put in them”. Cirrus fatality accidents continue at an alarming accident per number of fleet rate with 1 fatal crash in Feb. ’08 followed by 3 fatal crashes in Mar. ’08.

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