NTSB releases preliminary report on Louisiana plane crash
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Federal investigators Wednesday released a preliminary report involving a plane that crashed last month into the Red River, killing the pilot and his passenger.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the small plane piloted and owned by Shreveport businessman Richard “Ricky” Lennard on Feb. 28, made a quick descent before crashing into the water. The Piper PA46-350P aircraft came to rest about 17 feet below the river’s surface.
The bodies of Lennard and passenger, 56-year-old Scott Hollis, of Bossier City, were recovered March 2.
The plane was headed from the Shreveport Downtown Airport to the Wilbarger County Airport in Vernon Texas. The report says the men were going on a hunting trip.
The NTSB report does not say what caused the crash. Instead, it lays out details about the airplane, its flight plan and information from air traffic control.
Lennard, 61, departed the runway and reached 600 feet. Then he was instructed by air traffic control to turn left to a heading of 270 degrees and continue climbing to 12,000 feet. The airplane turned left continuously for 740 degrees. It was during the turn and after climbing steadily to 1,400 feet that the airplane’s altitude began to shift between 725 feet and 1,900 feet, the report states.
The plane then began to slow and turn to the right but quickly descended. The last recorded data from the air traffic control indicated a ground speed of 31 knots, which is a little over 35 mph on land, and an altitude of 575 feet. The plane then crashed into the river.
Funeral services were held last week for Lennard and Hollis.
News outlets report it could take six months to a year before the final accident report is released.