HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on a plane crash at Huntsville International Airport. Three people died in that crash.
The crash happened on June 18, 2014 around 2:30 p.m.
The report indicates the flight was for pilot proficiency examinations for two company-contracted pilots. The pilot told the air traffic control tower they would land for a “full stop taxi-back landing.”
After landing, they requested a delay to swap crew members. The next time the pilots on the aircraft spoke to the tower, they informed the controller “we’d like to have a couple more ILSs before we depart the area.” After further clarification, the crew confirmed they wanted two ILSs, then they would leave for Birmingham.
ILS stands for Instrument Landing System. The pilot was requesting permission to do a couple of practice approaches to maintain his proficiency for landing under “instrument conditions.” An ILS approach is used to land when the visibility is restricted and the aircraft has to land in poor weather conditions. Air Transport Pilots are required to maintain their ability to make these approaches. Practice is conducted in good weather so they have the ability when they need it in bad weather.
The plane crashed after taking off before the pilot could do the ILS approach.
Airport security video shows the airplane taxiing onto the road way and beginning the “takeoff roll.” The airplane disappeared from the camera before the crash. Witnesses told investigators the airplane climbed to an altitude estimated at 50-200 feet. They say it then banked to the right about 90-degrees and hit the ground west of the runway.
The NTSB recovered the wreckage, the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System. All were sent off for further investigation.