Preliminary report released in plane crash that killed 4

(KYTX) - The preliminary report on an airplane crash in New Mexico that killed four Texans has been released.

According to the NTSB report, the pilot was cautioned about the wind conditions before leaving the runway.

The pilot, John Verhalen III; his girlfriend, Jennifer Woodward; his sister, Sarah Verhalen and her 13-year-old daughter died in the crash near Angel Fire, New Mexico on March 3.

Here is  the preliminary report:

On March 3, 2013, about 1320 mountain standard time, a Mooney M20E, N3484X, impacted terrain after departing the Angel Fire Airport (KAXX), Angel Fire, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Verhalen Flyers LLC, Scottsville, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was departing KAXX at the time of the accident and was destined to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

When the pilot arrived at the fixed base operator (FBO), an employee from the FBO questioned the pilot's intent to fly in the windy weather. The pilot indicated that he planned to fly and that the winds would not be a problem. When the pilot radioed on universal communications (UNICOM) that he was taxiing to runway 17, the current wind and altimeter were relayed to the pilot by the FBO employee, which were repeated by the pilot.

Due to snow piles on the airfield, the FBO employee could not see the takeoff and next saw the airplane airborne with a significant crab angle into the wind, about 40 degrees right of the runway heading. The airplane rose and fell repeatedly as its wings rocked. Then employee saw the airplane's right wing rise rapidly. The airplane rolled left, and descended inverted with the airplane's nose pointed straight down.

At 1315, an automated weather reporting facility located at KAXX, reported wind from 250 degrees at 33 knots gusting to 47 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 47 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 17 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.93 inches of mercury.


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