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The plane struck an antenna along the runway before crashing into the ground.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
DANVILLE — The National Transportation Safety Board has released an initial finding on the cause of the plane crash that killed Dr. Scott Banuelos a week ago.
Banuelos, 42, wrecked his Piper Warrior II while practicing solo flying at Danville Regional Airport. He struck an antenna along the runway before hitting the ground. According to the report, weather conditions were not a factor in the crash.
“The airplane landed successfully during its second attempt and after making a full stop, the airplane taxied back to takeoff position and departed uneventfully,” stated the report. “The airplane completed the airport traffic pattern; however, during landing the airplane banked to the left and struck the ILS antenna, severing the left wing from the airplane. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and came to rest inverted.”
Shawn Etcher, an air safety investigator with the NTSB, said at a news conference last week that it could be up to a year before the precise cause of the crash is determined. After the preliminary report is complete and depending on what is found, a factual report will be compiled and released anywhere from three months to a year after the crash.
Officials obtained statements from Banuelos’ flight instructor, who said he was “flying the airport pattern on a supervised solo flight,” according to the report. Other witnesses said Banuelos successfully attempted two landings before the crash, the report stated.
Banuelos, a heart surgeon at Danville Regional Medical Center, was working to become a certified recreational pilot. As part of that requirement, Etcher said Banuelos had to reach a point in his training where his instructor felt comfortable letting him fly alone.
The report states a wreckage path of 183 feet long. Investigators found several broken metal bars from the antenna, which allowed them to determine that as the initial point of impact. There was impact damage to the left wing root, the propeller spinner and both blades, according to the report.
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