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Weather analysis for recent Mooney accident near Minneapolis

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

A tragic accident occurred on Saturday, August 7th where a Mooney M20M / 257 TLS Bravo, plummeted to the ground as the flight approached the Flying Cloud Airport from the northwest near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The pilot and two passengers died in the crash. According to Flightaware the flight departed at 4:56 pm CDT (2156Z) from Chandler Field Airport (KAXN) headed on a short IFR flight southeast to Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM) liocated just to the southwest of Minneapolis. The accident occurred less than an hour after departure at approximately 5:40 pm CDT (2245Z). Part of the portions of the left elevator and left horizontal stabilizer on the back end of the plane were found blocks from the accident site implying an in flight break up.

It is not known at this time what caused the accident and this post will not speculate what might have contributed to the accident. However, there has been speculation throughout the pilot community that such a violent accident was due to thunderstorms or encountering a possible microburst in the area at the time of the accident. This post will demonstrate that severe or extreme convective turbulence or low level wind shear was highly unlikely at the time and location of the accident.

One pilot conjectured that there was a solid overcast several thousand feet thick. Yes, there was an overcast deck in the area as indicated by the surface observations from the ASOS on the field at KFCM. The ceiling was MVFR between 1,100 feet and 1,300 feet with visibility below the cloud deck around 10 statute miles.

KFCM 072353Z 09007KT 9SM OVC012 22/19 A2977 RMK AO2 SLP077

KFCM 072253Z 06007KT 10SM OVC013 23/19 A2976 RMK AO2 SLP075