A report filed by the NTSB says an airplane that crashed on January 1 was taken without permission from the Walker County Airport by a student pilot. The crash claimed the life of the 17-year-old pilot and two passengers.
According to the report, the owner of the airplane told investigators that he knew the student pilot from his work at the airport. He said that he never gave permission to the pilot to fly the airplane nor did he ever take the pilot flying in the airplane. The plane's owner says that the plane was kept unlocked, but the 17-year-old did not have a key.
The manager of the Walker County Airport says the pilot had been working as a cleanup worker at the airport in exchange for flying lessons. The 17-year-old had completed his first solo flight on April 27, 2012 and did not received any more flight lessons from the manager after that flight. The plane used to train the student pilot was said to be a single engine Cessna C-172.
Here is the transcript of the full report:
*** Note: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report. ***
On January 1, 2013, about 2240 central standard time, a twin engine Piper PA-30, N7700Y, collided with terrain during an uncontrolled descent in Jasper, Alabama. The student pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was unregistered, and is owned by a private individual. The unauthorized flight was conducted in night, instrument meteorological conditions and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from Walker County Airport-Bevill Field, Jasper, Alabama, at 2235.
Witnesses stated that on the night of the accident, it was dark and raining. They heard the airplane flying very low and, shortly thereafter they heard a loud crash. The witnesses called 911 and reported that the airplane had crashed.
According to the airport manager/instructor, the pilot worked as a cleanup person at the airport in trade for flight lessons. The airport manager said that student pilot completed his first solo flight on April 27, 2012. He also said that the student pilot received his flight lessons in a single engine Cessna C-172 airplane. After the student pilot's solo, he no longer received lessons from the airport manager.
The owner of the airplane stated that he knew the student pilot from his work at the airport. He went on to say that he never gave permission to the student pilot to fly his airplane. The owner was asked if he ever took the student pilot flying in his airplane and he responded "no." He said that the student pilot did not have a key for his airplane and it was not typically locked. On the night of the accident, the owner was informed that his airplane was missing from the airport. When he arrived at the airport, he verified that his airplane was missing and reported that it was last seen on December 23, 2012.
According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration, no air traffic control assistance and no radio transmissions were made by the pilot prior to the accident.
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