Preliminary report release on fatal plane crash

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According to the website flyingmag.com, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the fatal crash at the MayDay STOL Drag competition at Wayne Municipal-Stan Morris Field (KLCG) in Wayne.

The accident took the life of Tom Dafoe, 45. An experienced backcountry pilot, Dafoe was flying a 1946 Cessna 140.

According to the report, before crashing, the pilot received two warnings to lower the nose of the aircraft because it appeared to be flying too slow.

The accident happened in the fourth heat of an impromptu traditional STOL pickup match that was not originally part of the STOL Drag competition. The aircraft participating in the event were utilizing Runway 31. The weather at the time of the accident was reported as winds from 290 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 21 knots.

According to the NTSB report, a STOL representative who was using a handheld radio to contact the pilots transmitted to Dafoe approximately 45 seconds before the accident: “Lower your nose, you look slow.” 

Approximately 15 seconds later, the warning was repeated. Video of the event shows the Cessna 140 pitching up slightly, then rolling to the right and entering a spin at 300 feet agl from which it did not recover.

The report notes that Dafoe did not respond to either communication. It also notes that no other pilots in the competition were using their radios.

The aircraft came to rest approximately 1,600 feet from the runway. The investigation did not uncover any pre-impact mechanical issues.

Additional information will be published as it is made available from the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration.

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