fairn.png
Friday November 27th, 2020 6:06PM

NTSB: Pilot's actions likely caused Earnhardt plane crash

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A pilot's inability to maintain proper airspeed and the flight crew's decision to continue an unstable approach and landing likely caused the crash of a small plane carrying race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family in 2019, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released Wednesday.

The NTSB's final accident report points to actions by the pilot and co-pilot in the Aug. 15, 2019 plane crash at an airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla and two pilots when their Cessna Citation Latitude crashed and caught fire. The NTSB said the three passengers suffered minor injuries.

NTSB investigators said part of the landing gear collapsed and a section of the right wing hit the runway as the plane bounced twice before touching down a third time with about 1,000 feet (300 meters) of paved surface remaining.

The plane went through a chain-link fence before coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91. Unable to escape through an emergency exit door above the wing, Earnhardt and his family managed to get out through the main cabin door as the plane caught fire, according to witness statements.

Pilot Richard Pope told the NTSB that he was carrying extra speed on the approach to the runway because the plane “slows down so easy,” according to a summary of the pilots’ statements to the NTSB.

Pope said the initial touchdown was “pretty hard” and the aircraft came off the runway. The flight crew reported that thrust reversers, which help an airplane decelerate during landing, were applied after the first touchdown.

Co-pilot Jeffrey Melton said that after thrust was increased, “the power never comes,” the NTSB said in a previous report. Power was then pulled to idle, and the thrust reversers were again applied as the airplane touched down for the third time, the NTSB said.

In Wednesday's final report, the NTSB said the pilot's continuation of the unstable approach for landing and the decision not to initiate a “go-around” before the first touchdown “resulted in a bounced landing, a loss of airplane control, a landing gear collapse, and a runway excursion.”

A “go-around” takes place when a pilot chooses to pull out of a landing approach and gains altitude before attemping another landing.

“Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to deploy the speedbrakes during the initial touchdown, which may have prevented the runway excursion,” the report said.

The report listed the pilot's inability to attain or maintain airspeed and the descent rate, plus the decision-making of the pilot, as probable causes of the crash.

Earnhardt retired from full-time racing following the 2017 season and is now working as a NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports, though he has raced since the plane crash.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, NASCAR Cup
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, Motorsports Live On WDUN, NASCAR Cup Series
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
NTSB: Pilot's actions likely caused Earnhardt plane crash
A pilot's inability to maintain proper airspeed and the flight crew's decision to continue an unstable approach and landing likely caused the crash of a small plane carrying race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family in 2019...
6:00AM ( 18 seconds ago )
United ends winless skid with win over FC Dallas
Jeff Larentowicz scored on a penalty kick and Atlanta United beat FC Dallas 1-0 on Wednesday night to end a six-game winless streak...
9:33PM ( 8 hours ago )
Softball: East Hall wins 8-4A slugfest over Chestatee; Wednesday roundup
East Hall rallied from an early deficit to win a slugfest over Chestatee, 12-8, Wednesday in Region 8-4A action at East Hall Park...
9:03PM ( 8 hours ago )
Sports
McCreadie makes late race pass for LOLMDS win at I-80
Tim McCreadie made a daring pass on race leader Jimmy Owens on lap 78 to win the Al Belt Custom Homes I-80 Nationals on Saturday Night at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska.
8:00AM ( 22 hours ago )
Clint Smith scores Limited Late Model victory at Senoia
Clint Smith passed Dennis Hale with an inside move late in the championship feature for the Limited Late Model division, and went on to the win at Georgia’s Senoia Raceway on Saturday night.
1:06PM ( 1 day ago )
Spikes tops Super Pro for first Commerce 2020 win
Susan Spikes recorded her first Super Pro victory of the season in Summit ET Drag Racing Series competition on Saturday at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.
5:00AM ( 2 days ago )
NASCAR News
Bristol Playoff race may be last chance for Blaney, DiBenedetto
The upside? Both Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto have shown excellent speed at Bristol Motor Speedway. The downside? Neither driver has won a NASCAR Cup Series race at the .533-mile...
6:00AM ( 6 days ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn - Keselowski punches ticket with Playoff win
Brad Keselowski staked his claim to a spot in the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on Saturday night with a win at Richmond Raceway.
11:20PM ( 1 week ago )
Brad Keselowski scores playoff victory at Richmond
Brad Keselowski entered NASCAR's playoffs certain he has as good a chance at the Cup championship as favorites Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.
6:00AM ( 1 week ago )
NASCAR Cup
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn - Harvick wins Bristol in Playoff cutoff race
Kevin Harvick added to his championship odds with a victory in Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:19PM ( 1 day ago )
Hamlin, Michael Jordan partner on NASCAR team for Wallace
Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.
By Jenna Fryer-AP Auto Racing Writer
10:31PM ( 2 days ago )
Ty Gibbs caps nearly flawless run with Winchester win
Ty Gibbs was nearly as perfect Saturday as he’s been all season, and that’s saying something. The 17-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, driver made his debut at Winchester Speedway...
By ARCA Media
3:00PM ( 2 days ago )
Chastain snags Ganassi Cup ride in busy NASCAR free agency
Ross Chastain snagged one of the coveted open Cup seats on Monday in a promotion at Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 next season.
By Jenna Fryer-AP Auto Racing Writer
10:49AM ( 2 days ago )
Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round
Feeding off one of the largest crowds at a sporting event during the pandemic, Kevin Harvick steamrolled his way into the second round of NASCAR's playoffs in a championship that is clearly his to lose.
By Jenna Fryer-AP Auto Racing Writer
6:00AM ( 3 days ago )