On April 6th, 2018 Civil Air Patrol’s Pacific Region Vice Commander Carl Morrison (75) died when he crashed N9133Z his private 1990 Mooney M20J, near Petaluma, California.
At about 1700:30 the pilot received his IFR clearance from Petaluma Municipal Airport (O69) to Fallbrook Community Airpark (L18), Fallbrook, California. with a void time of 1710. A pilot rated witness familiar with operations at O69 was on the deck of the airport office monitoring common traffic advisory frequency when he heard the accident pilot radio “Petaluma ground, Mooney taxi to Runway 29” he then observed the airplane taxi to runway 11.
He stated that the airplane remained in the runway 11 runup area for about 15 minutes. At
about 1700 the pilot announced, “Petaluma traffic, Mooney departing Runway 29.” At which
time the witness transmitted “Runway 11” to which the pilot replied, “thank you, I appreciate
The witness observed the airplane depart off runway 11, climb to about 300 feet above ground
level (AGL) before initiating a shallow left turn and disappearing into the fog. The witness
reported that there were no unusual sounds from the airplane during the takeoff, and the
engine sounded “strong, smooth and normal.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) along with the
rest of the investigative team reached the accident site on the morning of April 8. The airplane
impacted in a near vertical attitude in in a soft, muddy mustard field with rolling hills at an
elevation of about 307 ft mean sea level, on a heading of about 200°.
All the airplane’s major components were located at the main wreckage site. The right wing
was displaced from the fuselage and came to rest on the right side and forward of the fuselage.
The left wing sustained extensive accordion style leading edge crushing near the tip lessening
in severity toward the wing root. The engine and propeller separated from the airframe and
were buried in about 3 feet of soft mud. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft and
the blades remained attached to the propeller hub assembly. Both blades exhibited leading
edge polishing. The fuselage was largely consumed by postcrash fire. All the primary flight
control surfaces remained attached to their respective attach points; however, flight control
continuity could not be verified on-scene due to impact damage and postcrash fire.