Plane that crashed after Auburn takeoff could only make right turns

NTSB releases preliminary investigation report of Jan. 7 crash that injured two men

The pilot of a small plane that crashed Jan. 7 in Kent could only make right turns shortly after takeoff from Auburn Municipal Airport, according to a preliminary investigation report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Two men, the pilot and a passenger, were seriously injured after the plane crashed into the roofs of two units at Affordable Self Storage, 1721 Central Ave. S., just north of the airport.

“Shortly after departing the airport, the pilot leveled off and started a right turn,” according to the recently released preliminary investigation report. “The pilot soon realized that the airplane just wanted to turn right and would not turn left, despite his actions. At this time, the pilot-rated passenger seated in the rear seat noticed that the rear control stick was positioned to the left and the left aileron (a section on the back edge of the wing of an aircraft that can be raised or lowered in order to control the aircraft’s movement) was in the neutral position. He also reported that there were no anomalies with the engine during the flight.”

“The airplane departed to the north and started a slight right turn,” according to Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B), which periodically transmits information with no pilot or operator involvement required, data referenced in the report. “Soon after, the track makes a sharp right 270 degree turn towards the west. Shortly thereafter, the airplane made multiple descending right turns over the accident site location.

“Two security videos from the storage facility captured the airplane while it was in a nose down, right wing down attitude before impacting the roofs of two storage buildings.”

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the accident site, according to the report. The airplane came to rest on a storage facility roof, with substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The airplane was relocated to a secured facility for further examination.

The NTSB’s preliminary report contains factual information collected on scene, but does not have a cause, according to the NTSB website. The probable cause for the accident will be included in a final report, expected six months to 12 months after the accident.

The two men were in a Challenger II, light sport airplane, which was substantially damaged after it crashed at about 1:18 p.m. on Jan. 7. The pilot and the pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the report, the airplane was recently purchased by the pilot-rated passenger who hired the pilot to fly the airplane from Auburn Municipal Airport to Harvey Field Airport in Snohomish. The pilot seated in the forward seat, reported that a preflight and flight control check was performed prior to departure.

Approximately 30 emergency personnel responded to the plane crash, according to Puget Sound Fire. Firefighters scrambled 15 feet up on ladders to rescue the two men who were injured in the plane.

NTSB reports do not list the names of those involved in the crash.