Pilot slowed plane too much in fatal Shiawassee crash

Gary Miles
The Detroit News

The pilot in a 2014 Shiawassee County crash that killed two men apparently failed to maintain adequate airspeed during an emergency landing, the NTSB has determined.

Richard Hayward, 63, of Vassar died in April 2014 when the plane he was piloting went down in Shiawassee County.

Richard Hayward, 63, of Vassar and Mark Kozan, 49, of Caro were flying Hayward’s 1983 Nanchang CJ-6, a single-engine Chinese military training aircraft, on April 19, 2014, when the crash occurred.

They were headed to Fowlerville from Caro when Hayward attempted a forced landing in a field in Venice Township, according to the probable cause report issued June 16. Although the cockpit remained relatively intact, the two men suffered severe injuries because of the apparent failure of one or both shoulder harnesses, the NTSB found.

About halfway through their planned flight, the plane began having trouble.

Kozan

“A witness reported hearing the engine ‘sputter’ and seeing the propeller slow as the airplane began descending toward an open field with the landing gear extended,” the report said. “Another witness, who was watching the airplane fly eastbound at low altitude, reported that it suddenly pitched down and impacted terrain in an approximate 45-degree, nose-down attitude, indicative of (an aerodynamic) stall.”

Hayward’s in-flight emergency was likely caused by carburetor icing, caused when super-cooled humid air entering the engine creates a blockage of ice that negatively impacts engine performance, the report found.

“Although the carburetor heat control was found in the ‘on’ position, it is possible that the pilot delayed the application of carburetor heat, which likely resulted in the formation of carburetor ice and the loss of engine power,” the NTSB report said.

The bureau found no evidence of mechanical problems.

Hayward was a longtime pilot and U.S. Air Force veteran who purchased the Chinese trainer in 2012, records show. Kozen was a Mayville High School graduate and owner of Caro’s Riverview Auto and Recycling.