Truckee plane crash: NTS releases preliminary investigation report
December 30, 2009
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary investigative report reveals limited visibility and wintry conditions may have led to the Dec. 13 plane crash that saw two Bay Area men walk away unharmed.
According to the report, the pilot and passenger and#8212; Charles Simmons of Los Altos Hills, Calif., and David Burow, of Woodside, Calif. and#8212; reported diminishing visibility, light icing on the a single-engine turbo prop TBM 850 and an unidentified alarm leading up to the crash in a snow-covered field northwest of Truckee Tahoe Airport.
According to the report, Simmons said the weather report he received earlier in the day when taking off from San Carlos Airport said visibility in Truckee was seven miles.
Simmons said he started an instrument approach, and#8220; … picked up some light rime iceand#8221; and turned on the airplane’s deicing equipment, according to the report.
He noticed the first part of the runway covered in fog, and the Automated Surface Observation System reported visibility had dropped to three-quarters of a mile with light snow.
The report said Simmons decided to fly around, and then the warning horn came on. He thought the warning came on from failing to raise the landing flaps and landing gear, but the horn didn’t stop, and Simmons was unable to climb.
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and#8220;I then only saw snow and trees ahead and decided I couldn’t climb over the trees. I focused on avoiding the trees and leveling the wings,and#8221; Simmons said in the report.
The Federal Aviation Administration found the airplane upright with damage to both wings and the propeller assembly separated from the engine. Investigators also detected the odor of jet fuel at the crash site.
The complete investigation could take six months to a year, said Josh Cawthra of the National Transportation Safety Board, in a previous interview.