NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Wasilla plane crash
The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report detailing the events surrounding a fatal plane crash at the Wasilla Airport.
The crash happened on takeoff at about 3:30 p.m. on May 30. At the time, NTSB spokesperson Clint Johnson said the plane involved was "a home-built, amateur-built, aerobatic-type airplane." The pilot, 61-year-old John Hutchison of Big Lake, was the only person on board; he died in the crash.
The preliminary report states that it appeared Hutchison completed an initial engine run-up before takeoff. Bystanders with aviation experience told the NTSB that the engine sounded strong with no unusual sounds.
The report continues:
"During the takeoff roll, some witnesses reported hearing the engine 'pop.' The witnesses added that, during the takeoff, the airplane appeared to become airborne about midway along the 3,700 ft long paved runway but it remained within ground effect as the speed increased. As the airplane passed over the departure end of the runway, the nose pitched up abruptly, and a few seconds later the engine sputtered. At about 500 ft above ground level (AGL), the airplane pitched down, made a hard-left turn, and the left wing dropped. As the airplane descended nose down, it disappeared behind a stand of trees off the departure end of the runway. During the descent the engine sound increased significantly, which was consistent with a high-power setting.
The airplane subsequently impacted a paved roadway near the departure end of Runway 04 at IYS. Ground scars indicated that the airplane impacted on about a 210° heading, at an elevation of about 332 ft mean sea level (MSL). The composite structure of the airplane was heavily fragmented as a result of the impact."
The document states a detailed wreckage report is still pending.
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