Aviation

NTSB nears probable cause ruling on fatal 2014 crash at Eisenhower airport (+video)

Video of 2014 fatal plane crash at Wichita airport

The National Transportation Safety Board released last week its factual report, including video, of the fatal King Air crash into the FlightSafety building on Oct. 30, 2014.
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The National Transportation Safety Board released last week its factual report, including video, of the fatal King Air crash into the FlightSafety building on Oct. 30, 2014.

Twenty-six seconds and 120 feet.

That was the time it was airborne and the highest altitude a Beechcraft King Air B200 reached before it crashed into a FlightSafety building after lifting off from a Wichita Eisenhower National Airport runway on Oct. 30, 2014.

This week the National Transportation Safety Board released its factual report on the accident that killed pilot Mark Goldstein, 53, and three people inside the building: FlightSafety employees Jay Ferguson, 78, and Nataliya Menestrina, 48; and Russian pilot Sergey Galitskiy, 54, who was training at FlightSafety.

The National Transportation Safety Board released last week its factual report, including video, of the fatal King Air crash into the FlightSafety building on Oct. 30, 2014.

The factual report goes into greater detail than the NTSB preliminary report and precedes a ruling on the probable cause of a crash. An NTSB official said Friday the time between the release of the factual report and a probable cause determination varies.

The report said that Goldstein radioed controllers for clearance to takeoff and was granted it at 9:47 a.m. At 9:48 a.m. he declared an emergency and said he “lost the left engine,” the report said.

“A timeline generated from the CVR recording determined that the time duration from liftoff to building impact was about 26 seconds,” the report said.

Upon takeoff, witnesses from a Cessna Service Center on the west side of the runway where the plane took off, “indicated that the airplane then porpoised several times before making a left turn … barely cleared the top of a hangar on the west side of runway 1R, and then descended into a building,” the report said.

Based on airport surveillance cameras that captured the last nine seconds of flight, the report said, “the airplane’s altitude reached a maximum of about 120 ft” before it descended and crashed into the building.

The report said investigators found “no maintenance record discrepancies that would have affected the operation or performance of the airplane.” The airplane’s last major scheduled maintenance was completed by Hawker Beechcraft Services in Wichita nine days before the crash, the report said.

But examination through “engine performance calculations … and sound spectrum analysis-based findings … indicated that the left engine was likely operating but producing low to moderate power when the airplane struck the building and that the right engine was operating normally and producing moderate to high power when the airplane struck the building,” the report said.

The report said Goldstein, the pilot, was a licensed airline transport pilot and retired air traffic controller. He had 3,139 flight hours, 2,843 hours of which were in multi-engine airplanes. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration second-class medical certificate in August 2014, with the only restriction being that he wear corrective lenses when flying.

The report said Goldstein was taking two prescription medications — Buspirone and Citalopram — for anxiety and depression at the time of the crash, and both of which carry a warning, “May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery),” the report said.

“He did not report his recurrent anxiety or his use of buspirone and escitalopram to the FAA,” the report said. “However, he visited his primary care physician about 1 month before the accident and was noted to be stable on the medications.”

Video shot immediately after the Beechcraft King Air B200 crashed into a building at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on Oct. 30, 2014. (The Wichita Eagle)

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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