The last issue was the decision to turn back to the runway after the second power loss. In my opinion, that decision, which the NTSB does not criticize or even mention, was defensible. It is almost invariably said, when turnbacks are discussed, that the wiser course is to land straight ahead. Far too many airplanes have stalled while attempting to get back to a runway from a low altitude. But each case is special. If landing straight ahead is impossible and there is a chance of safety in a turn, people will turn. In this case, with 300 or 400 feet of altitude, the Mooney was actually in a position to make a 180-degree turn and a forced landing, if not on the runway then on a strip of grassy land parallel to it or even in the adjacent river. Straight ahead, on the other hand, was a built-up area in which a survivable landing, without risk to people on the ground, would be unlikely.