No mechanical problems in fatal Oscoda plane crash, NTSB says
There were no signs of mechanical malfunctions in a fatal twin-engine charter plane crash near Oscoda in September, the NTSB said.
The plane, piloted by David Smith, hit trees about 3.5 miles short of the runway at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport at 6:13 a.m. on Sept. 25. He was attempting to pick up passengers for a Kalitta Charters flight to Memphis, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report filed Aug. 12. The factual report precedes a finding of probable cause.
When Smith's plane failed to arrive at its scheduled time that morning, Kalitta officials notified the FAA and a search began. The wreckage was found in rural Wilber Township at about 10:30 a.m.
The weather was poor that morning, with an overcast just 400 feet above the runway at Oscoda and visibility beneath the clouds of 5 miles in light rain.
"There were numerous propeller contact marks in the trees," said the report, filed by investigator in charge Arnold Scott. "Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or anomalies."
The existence of multiple propeller marks typically indicates that the plane's engines were working at the time of impact. The plane's flaps were found in a landing position and the landing gear was extended.
Smith, 33, lived in Davenport, Florida, about 35 miles southwest of Orlando, but hailed from Brown City, Michigan, according to his obituary.
The plane was a Beech 200 Super King Air built in 1977 with engines most recently inspected earlier in 2018.
Under instrument flight rules, which were dictated by the weather conditions that morning, the minimum altitude for the turn toward the runway was 2,500 feet. The final radar return for the aircraft, as it descended to land, was shown at 2,200 feet.
Smith's most recent proficiency check was completed just three weeks earlier, in August. He'd reached 3,800 hours of total flight experience, of which 200 were in the type of aircraft he was flying at the time of the crash.
An autopsy and toxicology tests could not be performed, the report states.