NTSB gives update on deadly Ohio County plane crash

He recapped the details of the crash, including why the plane was flying that night.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 7:52 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2023 at 8:06 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WBKO) - A press conference was held regarding the plane crash that happened in Ohio County on Wednesday night that resulted in the death of pilot Timothy A. McKellar Jr., 22, of Custer and flight student Connor W. Quisenberry, 18, of Beaver Dam.

The press conference was led by investigator with the National Transportation and Safety Board, or NTSB, Dan Boggs, who started the press conference by sending condolences to the families of the victims on behalf of the NTSB.

Bogg recapped the details of the crash, including why the plane was flying that night.

“From what we are gathering so far, the flight, and this was the last leg of an instructional night cross country flight, had a flight instructor and a student pilot on board. The flight was operated by Eagle Flight Academy in Owensboro. And unfortunately, both the flight instructor and the student pilot succumb to some fatal injuries. From what we found so far, the flight departed Owensboro Daviess County Regional Airport at about 7:55 [p.m.] on the 27th [of September] and a flew to Bowling Green Airport. It did some traffic pattern in Bowling Green,” Boggs says.

He also added that flying at night is a requirement for student pilots to get certified.

“The aircraft then departed about 9:55 [p.m.] to return back to Owensboro. The plane climbed up to about 4000 feet MSL, and that’s where it’s cruised for the rest of its way back over towards Owensboro. Shortly after passing Beaver Dam Kentucky, I think it was about 10:40 p.m., the airplane slightly was changing course we believe the weather was the wind was blowing him around a little bit. At that point there are some communications with air traffic control. The flight instructor did contact air traffic control and requested an IFR clearance,” Boggs says.

He further explained an IFR clearance, saying if a pilot is in difficult visual weather conditions, they can call and ask for instrument flight rules.

McKellar was instructed to fly east and a portion of the track shows the plane’s attempted turn.

“The track shows that there was a portion of it that turns east. We’re kind of still narrowing down exactly what the course of the of the aircraft was. It shows maybe a couple of circles up in there. And then shortly after that about 10:50 [p.m.], we lost complete communications with the pilot,” Boggs says.

After recapping the details of the crash, Boggs then delved into the further details of the investigation that will be led by both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA.

“We will continue our investigation and that’s where we do a lot more detailed inspection of the aircraft as a whole. We will also once the aircraft inspection is done, we’re going to be looking at all the weather conditions, we’ll be looking at the pilot qualifications, we’ll be looking at the operation human factors, we’re going to try to look at all aspects of this. It’s not just the aircraft we look at,” Boggs said.

He added that the government shutdown may delay preliminary reports but as a whole, the finals reports could take over a year to be fully completed.

“Our final reports can take up to about 16 to 18 months before they’re published. There’s a lot of information that has to be analyzed, we may look at some parts of the aircraft structural wise, we may not. But gathering all this weather information, pilot qualifications and interviews, it can take a while,” Boggs says.

Boggs discussed how the team is also still investigating the scene of the crash, saying the debris field is stretches for 40 acres over three mountain tops.

“The debris field which we’re gathering up is extremely large,” Boggs says, “It’s very fragmented right now and we’re having a very difficult time.”

He added that a major piece of the plane still missing is half of the elevator.

Debris and pieces of the plane found will be sent to an aircraft salvage facility in Springfield, Tennessee to be further investigated.

Eagle View Flight school and their safety protocols will also be investigated.