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Wed, June 26

Investigators now know cause of 2006 plane crash

The cause of a fatal plane crash involving three people during takeoff at Earnest A. Love Field on Sept. 2, 2006, was most likely because of loss of power in the rear engine, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's official report.

The pilot, Sandra Rogers, 66, of Prescott failed to quickly and correctly configure the Cessna twin-engine airplane for single-engine flight, and to maintain an adequate airspeed, which resulted in a stall, the report states.

The air traffic controller said Rogers asked for takeoff clearance with a request to stay in the local traffic pattern. After takeoff, the plane failed to climb more than 100 feet above ground level and the gear remained extended 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. Seconds 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.

Examination of the propellers indicated that with the rear engine inoperative and the landing gear extended, the airplane was not capable of climbing or maintaining level flight, according to the report.

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