Preliminary NTSB report: No signs of trouble before fatal Cross Lake plane crash

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A preliminary NTSB report shows the flight path of the Sub-Sonex JSX-2 experimental amateur-built jet aircraft that crashed into Cross Lake on May 23, killing Shreveport businessman and philanthropist Fred Phillips. (Source: National Transportation Safety Board/Google Earth)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The National Transportation Safety Board has completed a preliminary report on the fatal Cross Lake plane crash in May that claimed the life of local businessman and philanthropist Fred Phillips.

Shreveport businessman and philanthropist Fred Phillips was killed when his experimental aircraft crashed into Cross Lake on Sunday, May 23. The NTBS is investigating. (Photo: Phillips Energy, Inc.)

While the preliminary NTSB report does not indicate a suspected cause, it does note that there were no signs found among the wreckage that there were any “pre-impact anomalies” with the flight controls or control surfaces before the Sub-Sonex JSX-2 experimental amateur-built jet airplane plunged into the lake.

The report also says there were no radio or distress calls heard before the crash.

According to the report, the aircraft was equipped with a ballistic recovery system (BRS), which is a rocket-powered parachute designed to allow the aircraft to gradually descend to the ground. The device is designed to increase the chance of survival or at least reduce the risk of serious injury.
The lever to deploy this device was still in the stowed position, indicating there was no attempt to use it.

The crash came seven minutes after takeoff from Shreveport Regional Airport at 2:47 p.m. on Sunday, May 23. The report says witnesses reported seeing it fly low over the lake and one witness reported seeing it flying inverted before it crashed nearly directly nose-down into the water.

The Sub-Sonex JSX-2 experimental amateur-built jet airplane that crashed into Cross Lake on May 23, 2021 took its first flight in April 2017, according to the manufacturer. (Source: Sonex)

The report also says the engine had a “full authority digital engine control” installed. This kind of engine control is fully digital, which means it is controlled by computer with no manual override. The NTSB says the unit was recovered and retained for download, along with the touch flight display built into the aircraft.

The NTSB says information in preliminary reports are subject to change and may contain errors. The agency says any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report is completed.

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