GOSHEN — The fatal crash of a single-engine airplane in Goshen on Feb. 21 was caused when it struck power lines as the pilot moved in for a landing, preliminary findings confirm.
The Piper PA32R crashed shortly after 8 p.m., about 15 minutes after taking off from Goshen Municipal Airport. The plane was destroyed on impact, killing its pilot and only occupant, 55-year-old Neal Myers of Middlebury.
Myers was practicing takeoffs and landings, and was circling to land when the crash occurred, investigators said. His plane went down about a mile and a half east of the approach end of Runway 27.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report soon after the crash. It states that examination of the wreckage showed evidence of the plane impacting power lines as it made its approach to land.
The wreckage was found next to a set of 250-foot-high power lines that were downed. Portions of the power line wires were found embedded around the propeller and wire marks were found on both wings.
Most of the fuselage was consumed by the post-impact fire. Maintenance records and pilot logs were recovered but were too burned to be legible, investigators said.
Approach to land
Myers had contacted the South Bend departure air traffic control to request local clearance to conduct a practice area-navigation approach, the report said. Radar tracking showed that the plane was following the published approach inbound, and turned south to initiate the circle to land.
An eyewitness said the airplane appeared to be aligned on a roadway parallel to the runway as it approached to land, which radar tracking confirmed. The witness described the plane turning toward the runway before radar contact was lost.
No distress calls were heard from the pilot.
An airport security video showed what appeared to be the plane flying toward the airport, then a flash before the plane disappeared, the report said. The video also recorded what appeared to be a ground explosion.
All airport and runway lighting were reported to be working at the time of the accident, which an inspection confirmed, according to the NTSB.