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Early Analysis: Power Line Strike on Final Approach to Montgomery County Airpark

N201RF Mooney M20J 201

UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report (ERA23LA071) regarding the investigation into the power line tower strike of a Mooney M20J 201 (N201RF).

On November 27, 2022, a Mooney M20J became entangled in high-voltage power transmission lines on an instrument approach to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Thankfully both the pilot and passenger were rescued from the airplane that was perched some 100 feet above the ground.

The Mooney had been cleared for the GPS approach to Runway 14. Weather conditions at that time were poor with a 200-foot overcast and visibility of 1.25 miles in mist.

ADS-B data and ATC audio indicate the pilot was having difficulty maintaining assigned headings to the initial approach fix.

In Early Analysis: N201RF, the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) makes a preliminary assessment of the accident, addressing notable portions of the tragic flight and highlighting areas the NTSB will likely investigate to determine a probable cause.

AOPA Air Safety Institute staff

AOPA Air Safety Institute Staff members share a deep passion for aviation safety. As compassionate pilots, we bring together safety research, analysis, and knowledge in creative ways to share aviation safety education with you—with the ultimate goal of one day having zero fatal accidents in GA.
Topics: Accident, IFR, Aeronautical Decision Making

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