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Sun, June 16

Final plane crash report may take a year

PRESCOTT ­ A National Transportation Safety Board official said the final report about the Sept. 2 plane crash that killed three people near the Prescott Airport will not be available for another six to 12 months.

The preliminary report posted on the agency's Web site doesn't shed much light on the circumstances of the accident except that "the airplane began a power-on stall," according to a witness statement to the NTSB officials.

The report doesn't specify whether it appears that a mechanical problem, human error or both led to the crash. Weather conditions were favorable, though.

The witness, a pilot, thought the airplane was too low and slow, and that it should have been pulling up for altitude.

Airport operations personnel said they filled the plane with 86.4 gallons of 100-octane aviation fuel before its departure.

The air traffic controller said a female pilot, Sandra Rogers, 66, of Prescott, asked for takeoff clearance with a request to stay in the local traffic pattern. After takeoff, the controller noticed that the airplane was very low as it crossed Highway 89.

He then asked the pilot if she needed any help, but a man, later identified as Gerald Wayne Lands, 59, of Chino Valley, replied they did not. Lands, who was an airline transport pilot, was a passenger in the plane along with Rogers' 14-year-old grandson, Justin Clement.

The controller then cleared the pilot to "downwind" when ready, and the man replied OK, the report says.

A few minutes later the plane hit power lines and exploded as it hit the ground near the Piñon Oaks subdivision.

Lands and Rogers died at the scene while Clement died later after paramedics airlifted him to a Phoenix hospital.

Howard Plagens, the NTSB lead investigator in this crash, was unavailable for comment.

Contact the reporter at mburic@prescottaz.com

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