FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – The National Transportation Safety Board has released an aviation accident preliminary report following a plane crash in Farmington earlier this month.
On September 2 just before 10 a.m., a Cessna 560XL airplane carrying two pilots and two passengers struck the Trumpf building in Farmington. All four people on board the plane were killed and one person on the ground sustained serious injuries.
According to the NTSB, the parking brake handle in the cockpit, and the respective valve that it controlled, were both found in the brake set position.
In the report, the NTSB noted that two witnesses observed the takeoff, with one reporting the airplane was “going slower” than they had seen during previous takeoffs. One witness noted a puff of blue-colored smoke from the backside of the airplane.
A third witness, who was beyond the departure end of the runway, noted the airplane departed the runway in a level attitude, but after clearing the runway, the airplane’s nose pitched up but was not climbing.
Aviation Expert Dr. Michael Teiger told News 8 it is possible to leave the parking brake on and start take-off in a Cessna-560.
“This type of plane should be in the air within 11 seconds,” he explained. “This one took 17…When they put the parking brake on, I can’t say. It’s implied that because it took so long to get going that 17 seconds that maybe the parking brake was on during the take-off roll…So he didn’t have adequate speed to achieve lift and I think the aircraft just couldn’t fly. It ran out of runway and was going too slowly.”
The victims of the crash were identified as 55-year-old William O’Leary of Bristol, who was a pilot, 57-year-old Mark Morrow of Danbury, who was the second pilot, and the two passengers 33-year-old Courtney Haviland of Boston, MA, and her husband, 32-year-old William Shrauner.