Page:CAB Accident Report, Mooney M-18 Crash on 7 September 1959.pdf/1

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File No. 2-1027




ADOPTED: June 15, 1960
RELEASED: June 21, 1960




On September 7, 1959, about 1430 e. d. t., a Mooney M-18C55, N 4714, crashed one and one-half miles west of the Culmerville Airport near Butler, Pennsylvania. Donald W. Bailey, the pilot and sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The airplane, a single-engine, single-place, low-wing monoplane, was demolished.

Mr. Bailey planned a local VFR flight of 20 minutes' duration. He was seen to take off in N 4174 and climb to about 1,500 feet northwest of the airport where he executed several "lazy-eight" maneuvers. At approximately 1430 several persons on the ground saw the aircraft in straight and level flight on a southerly heading. A loud crack was heard and parts were seen to separate from the aircraft. Immediately thereafter N 4174 entered a spin and crashed.

The Board concludes that this accident was caused by the inflight separation of the trailing edge member of the right horizontal stabilizer. Investigation revealed very poor bonding of the glued wood joints of this structure due to improper production techniques. In addition, evidence was found throughout the aircraft of poor design and production practices in both welded metal parts and glued wood joints.

As a result of this investigation and the Board's recommendations, an Airworthiness Directive was issued by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency. (See Attachment "A".)


Mr. Bailey possessed a currently effective FAA commercial pilot certificate with a rating for single-engine land airplanes and an instrument rating. He had accumulated about 900 flying hours. Mr. Bailey's total flight experience in N 4174 was 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The flight on which the crash occurred was a proficiency flight in the local area and was to be of 20 minutes' duration. The weather conditions were: ceiling and visibility unlimited. The surface wind was from the west-southwest at five m.p.h.

Mr. Bailey took off on the west runway about 1415[1].He circled the airport climbing to an altitude of about 1,200-1,500 feet above ground. About one to one and

  1. All times herein are eastern daylight based on the 24-hour clock.