A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board reveals more details of the final moments a small plane that crashed into the Red River in late February, killing two people.
The preliminary report, filed this week, does not offer any conclusions on the cause of the accident.
Ricky Lennard and Scott Hollis were killed in the crash.
The early investigation indicated that Lennard, who was instrument rated, filed a flight plan from Downtown Airport to Vernon, Texas. He took off at 10:37 a.m. and flew one minute.
The report says air traffic control told the pilot of the single-engine Piper Mirage to turn left about 270 degrees and continue climbing to 12,000 feet. Instead, the aircraft circled twice and never got above 1,400 feet.
During this turn, after climbing steadily to 1,400 ft msl, the airplane’s altitude began to oscillate between 725 ft and 1,900 ft msl.
The airplane subsequently made a decelerating turn to the right and quickly descended, with the last recorded ATC data indicating a groundspeed of 31 knots and an altitude of 575 ft msl. The airplane impacted the Red River and came to rest about 17 ft below the river’s surface.
According to NTSB Air Safety investigator Mike Folkerts, a final report won’t be available for at least 12 months, and the probable cause of the accident two-to-three months after the final report is released.