Loose Oxygen Fitting Led To Crash

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A leaking oxygen hose fitting likely led to the fatal crash of a turbonormalized Mooney M20 Acclaim off the coast of Atlantic City on Sept. 10, 2015. Dr. Michael Moir, a dentist from Gaylord, Michigan, was the only one aboard the aircraft, which flew on autopilot without contact with ATC for more than two hours at 25,000 feet before descending to the ocean near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Moir was on his way to a Mooney owners safety conference and the NTSB speculated he did everything right to ensure a safe flight. He was still wearing his oxygen mask at the time of the crash but the technical fault made it worthless and he likely became hypoxic shortly after reaching altitude, the report says.

Investigators found that a fitting connecting an oxygen line to the regulator on the tank was loose. It may have been missed at an earlier annual and when Moir activated the oxygen system as he climbed to altitude it likely quickly drained the tank. Moir read back a clearance to 25,000 about 16 minutes after he took off and was never heard from after that. Two F-16s were scrambled but the Mooney crashed before their pilots spotted it. The NTSB said the duration of the flight was consistent with the aircraft draining one of the aircraft's two fuel tanks on the flight.

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