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Archive for Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Report: Pilot inexperience contributing factor in 2011 crash that killed 4 Kansans

January 8, 2013

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Crosses along the side of Kansas Highway 4, pictured in April 2011, memorialize members of the Spencer family. Dylan Spencer, 35, and his wife, Amy, 34, along with their two daughters, Chase, 7, and Ansley, 5, died when their small plane crashed north of Topeka. The family was from Scott City.

Crosses along the side of Kansas Highway 4, pictured in April 2011, memorialize members of the Spencer family. Dylan Spencer, 35, and his wife, Amy, 34, along with their two daughters, Chase, 7, and Ansley, 5, died when their small plane crashed north of Topeka. The family was from Scott City.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a final report last month citing pilot inexperience as a contributing factor in an April 22 plane crash in Jefferson County that killed four people.

According to the report, the aircraft, a Beechcraft 58 Baron, crashed into the ground just after noon. When the accident occurred, the pilot, Richard Dylan Spencer, "overshot the final approach course and decided to perform a missed approach," at Philip Billard Municipal Airport in Topeka. Spencer, his wife, Amy, and their daughters, Ansley and Chase, were killed in the crash. They were from Scott City.

The report states that "the pilot failed to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's minimal experience flying in actual instrument conditions."

The report further states, "It is likely that the pilot became disoriented ... and lost control of the plane."

Two pilot witnesses at the municipal airport reported seeing the aircraft about 200 to 300 feet above the runway with its landing gear extended. When the plane neared the end of the runway, the landing gear was retracted and the aircraft began a slow ascent.

The NTSB said during the missed approach the plane went into a steep left turn and then hit the ground. Numerous people reported hearing the crash and seeing an explosion but there were no eyewitnesses to the actual impact.

There were no reported distress calls issued by the pilot before the incident.

The airplane wreckage was located in Jefferson County about four miles northeast of the airport.

Comments

Milton Bland 1 year, 11 months ago

A pilot does not attempt a "training exercise" with passengers on board. The pilot was executing a missed approach, a procedure that is practiced during instrument training, and he failed to maintain control of the aircraft. At the time of the accident, it was not a training exercise. This article is misleading.

Haiku_Cuckoo 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't see where it says he was conducting a training exercise. It states that he was executing a missed approach maneuver and that, while it is a common practice for training, it doesn't say that he was doing it as part of a training exercise.

shaunepec 1 year, 11 months ago

I've updated that portion to include more of the language from the report. Hope that clears some of the confusion up.

Shaun LJW

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

Terrible tragedy. An entire family wiped out. Very sad.

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