NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal East Haven plane crash

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East Haven plane crash

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on last week’s fatal plane crash near Tweed-New Haven Airport indicating the plane stalled before the crash.

The flying student Pablo Campos, 31, of East Haven, died in Wednesday’s crash. Rafayel Hany Wassef, 20, of New London, was critically injured.

The NTSB said the pilot of the plane had been practicing landings and take offs, called “touch and go’s.” The student pilot and instructor had successfully performed three touch and go’s and on the last one declared a Mayday to the tower.

The report said:

The pilot did not specify the nature of the emergency. The airplane then spun to the left, descended and impacted terrain about 1,000 feet southeast of the departure end of runway 20. Another flight instructor, who was also flying in the airport traffic pattern at HVN during the time of the accident, stated that he heard the emergency transmission and could hear the airplane’s stall warning horn in the background during the transmission.

The plane plummeted straight into the ground, according to the report. The report said the two propeller blades did not exhibit rotational damage, indicating they were not spinning at the time of the crash. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

The report said Wassef, the flight instructor, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine.  According to the flight instructor’s logbook, he had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 236 hours; of which, 12 hours were in the same make and model as the plane that crashed. The flight instructor had flown about 28 hours during the 30-day period preceding the accident. Review of the student pilot’s logbook revealed that Campos had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 17 hours; of which, 15 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

Weather at the time of the crash was overcast with a 5 knot wind. The airplane had been operated for 78 hours since its most recent 100-hour inspection, which was completed on September 30, 2016.