BURLINGTON — Federal investigations into last November’s fatal plane crash near Burlington Municipal Airport suggest that it was pilot-induced error that sent the single-engine plane carrying a father and daughter spinning rapidly into the ground below.
The factual report completed by the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this week points to pilot Todd Parfitt’s lack of recent flight experience to explain the uncontrolled spin that led to the crash which killed Parfitt and his daughter Nicole.
That finding is in line with the previously concluded Federal Aviation Administration investigation which listed pilot-induced error as a primary factor in the crash that resulted in a loss of control, mismanaged controls and a stall/spin.
According to previous reports, the Nov. 18 flight was a father-daughter bonding experience.
Parfitt’s log book revealed that the fatal flight was his first in months, with the latest entry in his log book coming on May 30 of last year in which he logged four landings in just over an hour, according to the NTSB report.
A witness to the crash told investigators that he saw the Grumman AA-1B airplane in a steep descent with a slight left turn before it shifted into a tight right turn that developed into a spin, according to the NTSB report. After entering into the spin, the plane rapidly descended toward the ground.
The NTSB report continues with an excerpt on accelerated stalls, which were addressed in March at the organization’s safety forum.
“Stalls which result from abrupt maneuvers tend to be more rapid, or severe, than the unaccelerated stalls, and because they occur at higher-than-normal airspeeds, and/or may occur at lower than anticipated pitch attitudes, they may be unexpected by an inexperienced pilot,” the report reads.
According to previous reports, Parfitt, 50, of Antioch, Ill., had been a member of the Air Force Reserves and worked for United Airlines as a flight dispatcher.
The NTSB report shows that Parfitt reported a total of 290 hours of flight time with seven in the preceding six months.
The FAA investigation showed Parfitt had 225 hours of flight time in the same make and model plane he crashed in and just more than two hours of flight time in the year before the crash. He did not meet requirements for passenger carrying, according to that investigation.
Nicole Parfitt was 14 years old at the time of the crash.
An autopsy of the pilot showed no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol or drugs in his system and reported the cause of death to be massive trauma that occurred during the crash, according to the NTSB report.