Weber County plane crash detailed in preliminary NTSB report

A small plane crashed July 26 on I-15 in Roy. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Laura Withers

WEBER COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 3, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The National Transportation Safety Board has posted an initial report on the July 26 plane crash that killed the pilot and his three passengers when the single-engine craft hit the median of Interstate 15 in Roy, near Riverdale Road.

Among the details shared in the NTSB report is the last thing pilot Layne Clarke said to tower personnel at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

According to an air traffic control recording, shortly after departing the runway, Clarke said, “Hey, I’m going down, zero-whiskey-bravo.”

The controller cleared the pilot for landing, and four seconds later, another pilot flying in the area reported seeing the airplane impact the highway.

Besides Clarke, 48, those killed were his wife, Diana Clarke, 46, of Taylor; and Perry Huffaker, 45, and wife Sarah Huffaker, 42, of West Haven. The longtime friends had been bound for Yellowstone Airport, in West Yellowstone, Montana, the report said, adding that no flight plan had been filed.

“Witnesses who were also general aviation mechanics, located between hangar rows adjacent to the runway at OGD, heard the airplane during its departure,” the report says.

“They stated that the sound was unusual which made them look up to see what it was. When the airplane first came into view, they stated it was about 100 feet above the ground, and that it should be about 500 feet or higher at that location.”

“As the airplane passed by, they noticed the engine sound was underpowered and the tail of the airplane going up and down, as if the pilot was struggling to keep the airplane at altitude.”

The crash site was the northbound side of the interstate, and the plane “came to rest in the median, along the guardrail. The debris field was about 150 feet long with debris in both north and southbound lanes.

“The main wreckage remained intact with post-crash fire damage. The wing tip tanks and the leading edge of the wings were crushed, consistent with vertical impact damage.”

The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence and was relocated about 200 feet further up the freeway from the debris field, after being impacted by a passing tractor trailer, the report says. No other vehicles were involved in the accident sequence.

The wreckage is being stored at a secure site for further study, the report says.

The report noted that it contained preliminary information, subject to change, and might contain errors, which would be corrected in the final report.

Read the initial report below.



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