An online video is offering a dramatic look at a 2012 plane crash near the Fairbanks International Airport that left two people with minor injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s probable cause report on the crash of the Beechcraft F33A Bonanza, released Wednesday, says the aircraft was leading a group of 12 aircraft on a tour of Alaska when it took off from the airport on July 26. According to the report, pilot Dale Hemman reported that his preflight inspections and checks leading to takeoff didn’t show any issues.
“However, just after takeoff, as the airplane climbed through about 400 feet above ground level, the engine lost all power,” NTSB officials wrote. “The pilot made about a 90-degree right turn to avoid obstacles located off the end of the runway and landed in an adjacent field. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.”
In the video from several external cameras on board the aircraft, posted on YouTube May 17 by Hemman, the plane’s engine can be heard failing. Various camera angles show it gliding to the right, clearing a small stream near the airport before it lands.
NTSB spokesperson Clint Johnson says investigators downloaded the videos from the Bonanza’s cameras, but the board had no role in the video’s release online.
“I’ve seen snippets of it,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson the NTSB treats onboard video footage like information from cockpit voice and flight data recorders, and returns that material to an aircraft’s owners once an investigation is completed. Once that happens, owners are free to keep or post the video.
Johnson says that no conclusive cause for the engine failure was ever pinned down by the NTSB, even after removing the crashed Bonanza’s engine and testing it on a stand.
“We couldn’t mechanically find anything wrong with the engine -- it ran like a top,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those mysterious ones.”
Contact Chris Klint