An in depth flight map monitoring the route of a “ghost aircraft” that mysteriously crashed earlier this month in Virginia, killing all 4 onboard, was launched by federal investigators on Wednesday — as they revealed the cockpit voice recorder nonetheless hasn’t been situated.
The map, which was included in a preliminary report put out by the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed the whereabouts of the personal Cessna aircraft earlier than it went down over mountainous terrain close to Montebello on June 4.
Investigators haven’t but decided the reason for the crash, however the report sheds mild on what unfolded within the hours earlier than tragedy struck.
Pilot Jeff Hefner had repeatedly made contact with air site visitors controllers after the flight took off from Tennessee’s Elizabethton Municipal Airport at about 1:13 p.m. with three passengers onboard, in response to the report.
The aircraft — carrying actual property agent Adina Azarian, 49, her 2-year-old daughter, Aria, and the woman’s live-in nanny, Evadnie Smith — was en path to New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport.
In a string of audio recordings reviewed by investigators, the pilot contacted controllers not less than thrice because the aircraft climbed in altitude. Each time, the controller gave the plane clearance to climb even greater, and the pilot responded by studying again the clearance.
At about 1.30 p.m., the controller instructed the pilot to cease climbing at 33,000 toes for “crossing air site visitors,” investigators mentioned.
“The pilot didn’t reply to the amended clearance, the airplane continued the climb to 34,000 ft and leveled off,” the report says.
“No additional radio transmissions from the pilot have been obtained for the rest of the flight, regardless of repeated makes an attempt to contact the pilot.”
The aircraft continued on its filed flight plan at 34,000 toes till it all of a sudden made an almost 180-degree flip at about 2.30 p.m. over the Long Island airport, the map reveals.
The Department of Defense had beforehand disclosed that six F-16 fighter jets have been shortly deployed out of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after the aircraft subsequently veered into restricted house round Washington, DC, because it tracked again towards Virginia.
“The pilot was unresponsive to a number of radio transmissions, intercept flight maneuvers, and flare deployments,” the report says.
Despite sources saying the fighter jets had witnessed the pilot handed out, investigators made no point out of it within the report.
Authorities mentioned the aircraft confirmed “little deviation or altitude change” till simply earlier than 3.30 p.m. when the jet all of a sudden “entered a quickly descending proper spiral descent into terrain.”
Moments later, the aircraft crashed into the mountainous terrain.
Investigators imagine, based mostly on the proof and a assessment of the crash web site, that the aircraft plummeted at “excessive velocity” and a “close to vertical descent.”
“The cockpit was destroyed within the affect,” the report says, including that fragments of each wings and the 2 engines have been discovered scattered close by.
The cockpit voice recorder nonetheless hasn’t been recovered regardless of latest upkeep data exhibiting one was put in as of May 2023, in response to the report.
A full report into the crash isn’t anticipated to be accomplished for as much as a 12 months, in response to the NTSB.