The engine of an ultralight plane quit before the plane crashed near Monroe last month, killing the pilot, said a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Tim Moses, 55, of Monroe died Oct. 21 when his Quicksilver GT-500 crashed while he and his flight instructor, Leighton Pressley, were returning to Arant Airport during maneuvers to ready Moses for his private pilot license, the report said.
Moses, the report said, performed a short field landing, then turned right to take off from Runway 16 and conduct pattern work, a normal procedure from the 2,300-foot-long grass strip.
“The airplane was climbing at 60 mph. When they were about 200 feet above ground, the engine rapidly lost power until it quit,” the report said.
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Moses continued to fly the plane, with Pressley calling out air speed and coaching his student through a turn maneuver. There were trees to the right and power lines ahead of them. So Moses, not panicking, began to turn the plane to the left to return to the runway.
But the plane wasn't high enough for the turnaround and they didn't make it back. Instead, Moses steered the plane toward a cornfield with rolling and uneven terrain. Just before landing, Pressley helped Moses flare the plane for landing, the report said.
The plane came in flat at about 60 mph. “The left main gear touched the ground first and then the nose wheel, which dug into the ground,” the report said. “The front section of the airplane was torn apart as the airplane flipped.”
A witness told NTSB investigators he saw the plane take off, heard a noise and then didn't hear the plane anymore. Another witness said he saw the plane making a 30-degree turn toward the landing strip. But the left wing dropped abruptly and the plane descended at a steep angle into the cornfield.
Moses died at the scene. Pressley was seriously injured, but survived.