NTSB releases preliminary report in fatal Bad Axe plane crash - WNEM TV 5

NTSB releases preliminary report in fatal Bad Axe plane crash

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
HURON COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its initial investigation into a fatal plane crash in Huron County.

The Huron County Sheriff’s Department was called to the scene of a reported paraglider crash on Bad Axe Road near McKenzie Road in Colfax Township on July 23 at about 4:43 p.m.

When deputies arrived, they found an Aeros Venture aircraft had crashed into trees along the road.

The cockpit of the craft was stuck in trees about 25 feet off the ground.

The pilot, identified as 44-year-old Trever Engler of Bad Axe, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said that the flight originated from the Huron County Memorial Airport and was destined for Engler’s home, about 1.5 miles northwest of the airport.

Witnesses told investigators they saw the airplane in a spiraling, descending turn as it maneuvered toward the rural roadway. As the light sport airplane continues to descend and neared the roadway, they said the wings momentarily leveled, and it immediately became inverted.

The witnesses said that as the airplane began to recover, it hit a tall stand of trees, causing substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

According to a family member, Engler recently purchased the accident light sport airplane, which required that it be disassembled and trailered to his home.

It was his second flight of the day in the airplane, according to the NTSB.

Inspections have revealed no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions, but a detailed wreckage examination is pending.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said Engler was a highly experienced and accomplished pilot with a commercial pilot rating. He was also licensed on jets and helicopters.

"What a terrible loss," said Bill Cleland. "When I heard that Trever was in a hang gliding accident and perished that was just a huge loss for the community. Just a nice young guy, nice young family."

Engler worked as the main pilot for Gemini Group for more than 20 years. Employees at the company said this is a hard time for everyone.

Cleland said he can see why so many people are having a tough time with this sudden loss.

"Just his personality. It was kind of a can-do attitude. He was always a nice guy, always did things for other people," Cleland said.

Cleland spoke to TV5 hours after saying goodbye to his mother. While he is mourning that loss, his heart aches for Engler's family.

"I just lost my mother this morning at 79 and that's a loss, but this is a true tragedy at 44-years-old," Cleland said.

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