According to preliminary reports, a small plane crashed into a Maryland electricity transmission Tower last month. It was at a low altitude while approaching an airport during foggy nighttime conditions.
Both the pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The Mooney M20J suffered significant damage when it struck a tower that supports high-tension lines. This knocked out power to thousands of customers in the area. According to Monday’s preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane was found dangling 100 feet above ground.
Although the report contains factual information, it does not include probable causes. This information is usually included in the final report. The NTSB estimates that it could take up to a year to complete.
According to the report, the plane was using an instrument flight rules flightplan, which is used when visibility is low. The fog made visibility only 1.25 miles.
According to the report, air traffic control communications revealed that Patrick Merkle, 66-year-old from Washington D.C. was told by state police to expect one approach, but he preferred another. Merkle was directed by an air traffic controller to a location 13 miles from the airport. However, the plane took a wrong turn.
The pilot made several left and right turns as the controller corrected his course. He also continued to follow established headings. The controller repeated the request that the pilot change to another heading. According to the report, he once told the controller that he had accidentally entered the wrong waypoint in his system. He was now correcting it. Another plane asked for a divert to another airport due to reduced visibility.
According to the report, Merkle’s plane was at the airport below the minimum altitude at three points. According to the report, it was at 475 feet sea level at the last of these three points. The airport’s elevation is 539 feet. According to the report, the plane was suspended at 600 feet above sea level when it crashed.
Officials said that Merkle and the passenger were trapped in the aircraft for six hours before crews brought it to safety.
Merkle, while they waited for rescue, told 911 call centre personnel that “I got down slightly lower than I should have… I thought my airport was closer than I was… We could see ground but couldn’t see in front,” according to the report.
Merkle called the fog “pea soup” in interviews with local media. He also “expressed concern about his altimeter” but an analysis found that the fog was “well within the allowable error at all levels.”
Merkle stated to The Washington Post Tuesday that he had not seen the report. He was scheduled to issue an accident Report to investigators Wednesday.