HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A report has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding the fatal Hanover Township plane crash indicating the pilot was aware of an issue before take off.
According to the NTSB report, on October 29 an experimental, amateur-built Bearhawk Patrol airplane headed back to Farmers Pride Airport in Lebanon County and crashed in the area of Doran’s Farms in Hanover Township, leaving the pilot and a passenger dead.
The pair flew from Lebanon County to Hazleton Regional Airport and then to Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport (WBW). At WBW, the pilot told a friend that the airplane had a rigging issue that seemed to cause the airplane to “kick” laterally during turns, as stated in the release.
The report says the friend of the pilot flew the plane for 10 minutes and noticed the issue, however, the pilot said he would deal with the problem “this winter” and continued on their journey.
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data indicates that the aircraft flew to 1,700 feet, leveled off, and then began to descend to about 1,500 feet.
In the final seconds of the flight, the release said a descent of 400 feet in fewer than two seconds. Witnesses reported that the airplane “rolled and bucked,” with the craft’s nose dipping and pitching up rapidly, according to the report.
The pilot was reportedly out of the airplane at this time, with witnesses reporting that they saw the pilot “spiraling” down as the aircraft pitched downward and crashed.
NTSB’s November 19 report indicates that there was no evidence of fire on any portion of the airplane. An examination of the engine revealed no pre-impact anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.
The plane has been retained for further examination.