Photo: Lakeland Police
The pilot of a new Mooney Acclaim with only a few hours on the airframe escaped serious injury Monday afternoon when the aircraft lost power and crashed during a landing attempt at Lakeland Linder Airport. Mooney COO Tom Bowen told AVweb Monday evening that the aircraft was completed during the past month and had been conveyed to Premier Aircraft, a Fort Lauderdale dealer and aircraft modification business. The pilot, Richard Simile, 56, of Auburn, Ala., a Premier employee, was examined at a local hospital and released with what Bowen described as bumps and bruises.
The Mooney was being flown into Lakeland to be displayed in Mooney's booth at Sun 'n Fun. Bowen said a safety investigator from Continental Motors and officials from the NTSB and FAA are expected to begin a probe into the crash on Tuesday. Although the aircraft burned after impact, Bowen said the fire appeared to have started some time after the aircraft came to rest and the pilot was able to egress without burns or serious injury. The aircraft touched down adjacent to a road in a residential area. It struck a trailered boat and caught fire after impact.
The crash was the second in Florida during the past three days. Across the state at Space Coast Regional Airport near Cape Canaveral, a Cessna Corvalis was destroyed by fire, but it's not clear if the fire occurred in flight, on the ground or after landing. A father and son aboard the Corvalis escaped injury. The aircraft was enroute from Savannah, Georgia, to Okeechobee when the pilot reported a loss of oil pressure.