Plane bound for St. Pete, flew upside down before crash that killed 10

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The plane crashed upside down after a pilot noticed engine trouble.

That is just one of the many revelations in a preliminary NTSB report on the fatal Texas crash that killed all 10 aboard.

In the new preliminary report, investigators mention a witness who told them the plane seemed more quiet than normal and sounded like it didn’t have sufficient power to take off.

Witnesses reported the plane drifted to the left, rolled to the left, before colliding with the hanger.

A security camera recorded the plane roll completely inverted. Investigators are focusing on the plane’s left engine.

“I think the NTSB will look very carefully at if there was a problem with that engine if it failed or something like that,” said retired airline pilot, Captain John Cox. “And then they’re gonna look at how the pilots handled that failure because the airplanes are capable of flying on one engine.”

Captain Cox said the pilots could have taken off with an engine outage. He calls the “King air” a well-known, powerful, veteran airplane, with a modern turboprop engine. Flying with 1 instead of 2 is not a problem.

“This is something pilots practice a lot,” he said. “To fly a plane with an engine inoperative because it does require a good amount of skill, but it is something the pilots practice every time you go for a check ride.”

Most telling in the NTSB report: cockpit voice recordings, where a pilot comments about a problem with the left engine, then seconds later, an automated alert goes off warning them their bank angle is too steep.

Investigators found the main wreckage of the plane, including that left engine and fuselage, outside of the hanger.

The impact and fire destroyed it.  A full report could be out a year from now.

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