NTSB updates info on deadly Levelland plane crash - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

NTSB updates info on deadly Levelland plane crash


There is an update to the National Safety Transportation Board investigation of a deadly plane crash at the Levelland Municipal Airport in February of 2011. KCBD NewsChannel 11 discovered the update in a routine check of public records on Tuesday.

The update does not say specifically what caused the crash but it does give an updated perspective on the abilities and limitations of the pilot, Gery Franklin, 62, of Lubbock. Franklin and front-seat passenger Daniel Lopez, 27, were killed in the crash. Two others were seriously hurt.

The first NTSB report said that Franklin was doing "touch and go" landings at the airport and something went wrong. The update quotes a crash survivor as saying the crash happened during the first attempted landing.

The updated report says, "The passenger said that the touchdown was very rough and that he moved in the airplane from side to side. He recalled the pilot apologizing and stating that landings were not usually that rough."

The report continues, "The passenger said that at some point the pilot ‘hollered hold on.' The passenger said he could not remember anything after that."

A review of the wreckage did not discover anything mechanically wrong with the plane. And an autopsy of the pilot did not reveal any drugs or alcohol.

The NTSB talked to one witness who said "… he and two other flight instructors who taught the pilot, had trouble teaching him to fly. The pilot failed his first check ride because he had trouble maintaining direction…"

"The flight instructor said that the pilot had bad hand-eye coordination, did not have quick reflexes, and could not think quickly."

There was a 10 to 11 knot crosswind at the time of the crash. The witness said, "The pilot would have had trouble with that."

This same witness told the NTSB that landing at the Levelland airport at night "… would be tricky because there were few lights south of the airport."

The plane was a single-engine Cessna.

At the bottom of the narrative is a timestamp that says, "Updated on Jul 26 2012 1:05PM."

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