CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The National Transportation Safety Board released a report on Tuesday showing the probable cause of the fatal Conway plane crash that occurred on August 3, 2013, was a result of the pilot's failure to follow checklist procedures after the right engine lost power due to fuel starvation and his improper preflight and in-flight fuel management.
NTSB investigations show that after departing the pilot performed a practice instrument approach to an airport located 25 minutes away; onboard video showed that the right main fuel tank had about 5 gallons of fuel remaining, which was below the minimum fuel quantity needed for takeoff per the pilot's operating handbook.
The pilot chose to continue the flight to his home airport instead of landing, the report states.
The airplane was about 600 feet above the ground during its final landing approach when it made a steep, 270-degree right turn leaving flight and crashing at the entrance to a housing development.
NTSB investigators found all the engine controls full-forward in their quadrants and the right engine propeller was not feathered. According to the POH engine failure checklist, the controls on the inoperative engine should have been closed and the inoperative engine should have been feathered.
Performance calculations revealed the airplane slowed to below 80 knots, making it unable to maintain lateral and directional control because the single-engine minimum controllable airspeed for the accident plane was 80 knots.
The NTSB report states the pilot's medical records revealed that he was prescribed medications for anxiety and depression and toxicology reports showed the presence of sertraline, a medication used to treat depression, in the pilot's liver and blood. But, based on the evidence, the NTSB determined it was unlikely that the pilot was impaired by these medications at the time of the accident.
NTSB releases preliminary report on Conway plane crash