(Greensburg, Ind.) – A preliminary report regarding a deadly airplane crash in Greensburg has been released.
Pilot Donald Horan, his wife Barb, and their friends Stephen and Denise Butz all died when Horan’s single-engine Piper PA-46 crashed into a field about 1.5 miles south of the Greensburg Municipal Airport the evening of Sunday, December 2. They were all Greensburg residents well known in the community.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report released Wednesday reflects much of what investigators shared during a press conference last week.
The investigation determined that there were no mechanical issues with the private aircraft. Also, runway lights were operating properly the night of the crash.
Horan, who was piloting the plane on a return trip from Destin, Florida, last had contact with air traffic control about four miles outside of Greensburg.
The report says that weather conditions that evening were less than ideal for flying with fog and misting rain. Witnesses told investigators that they never saw the runway lights – typically activated by the pilot via radio signal – turn on.
A fellow pilot in a separate plan travelling back from Florida with the group had made an earlier attempt to land in Greensburg.
“The friend arrived approximately 30 minutes prior to the accident airplane, and then stated that he performed the same approach to its termination point. The friend never broke out of the clouds, performed a missed approach and diverted to an alternate airport,” the NTSB report stated.
FAA approach minimums required 700 feet and 1 mile visibility for a straight-in approach and 800 feet and 1 mile visibility for the circling approach, the report read.
“An eyewitness near the airport reported seeing a very low-flying airplane with landing lights on at the approximate time of the accident occurrence in a slight left bank, flying directly over his house 750 feet east of the approach end of Runway 18.”
GPS navigation devices and three personal data devices recovered from crash have been taken to the NTSB’s lab in Washington, D.C. for further examination. The remaining plane remnants have been returned to a representative for the Horans.
The NTSB’s report can be found online at http://dms.ntsb.gov/aviation/AccidentReports/auu5i345wt13nj3pykzww4y41/P12132012120000.pdf.