Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wrongful death lawsuit: Beech A36TC Bonanza, N60WB, Peak 2 Peak LLC, fatal accident occurred July 26, 2017 near Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD), Weber County, Utah

OGDEN — The family of a couple who died in a plane crash in Weber County in July filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Weber County District Court.

West Haven residents Perry and Sarah Huffaker, ages 45 and 42, and Taylor residents Layne and Diana Clarke, ages 48 and 46, died July 26 when the Beech A36 Bonanza plane they were in crashed on I-15 in Riverdale. The plane had taken off from Ogden-Hinckley Airport just before 1 p.m. on July 26 and crashed about half a mile away from the airport.

It could take more than a year for officials from the National Transportation Safety Board to determine exactly what caused the crash.

A complaint filed Friday in Weber County District Court says Layne and Diana Clarke were owners of the plane and were operating it at the time of the crash.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Perry and Sarah Huffaker’s surviving family members, including their children and parents. The lawsuit is filed against Donette Crayton, who represents the estates of Layne and Diana Clarke.

The complaint alleges that the Clarkes failed to “use reasonable care” in the operation of the airplane, which led to the wrongful deaths of Perry and Sarah Huffaker.

The Huffakers are seeking a jury trial to determine damages to pay for medical and other expenses, other financial losses and to provide relief for emotional suffering the family experienced as a result of the crash, as well as court and attorney fees, according to the complaint.

Story and comments:

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Hartzell Propellers; Piqua, Ohio

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Peak 2 Peak LLC:

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA166
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in Ogden, UT
Aircraft: BEECH A36TC, registration: N60WB
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 26, 2017, about 1240 mountain daylight time, a Beech A36TC airplane, N60WB, was substantially damaged when it collided with the freeway shortly after departing from Ogden-Hinckley Airport (OGD), Ogden, Utah. The private pilot, and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Peak 2 Peak, LLC., and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight was destined for Yellowstone Airport (WYS), West Yellowstone, Montana. 

According to an air traffic control recording from the OGD tower, shortly after departing the runway, the pilot reported "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.

Witnesses who were also general aviation mechanics, located between hangar rows adjacent to the runway at OGD, heard the airplane during its departure. 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 ft above the ground, and that it should be about 500 feet or higher at that location [which was about 3,700 ft down runway 17]. 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.

Dash Cam video from a car on a southwest-bound street, captured the accident airplane in flight. The airplane was first observed flying wings level from the right side of the video frame. As it approached the center of the video frame, it entered a right turn and flew away, paralleling the street. Shortly after, the airplane entered a descending right banking turn until out of view. 

The accident site revealed that the first identified point of contact (FIPC) was the outer edge of the northbound freeway, and 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. All flight controls were accounted for and flight control continuity was attained. The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence and was subsequently relocated about 200 feet further up the freeway from the debris field, after being impacted by a passing tractor trailer. No other vehicles were involved in the accident sequence. 

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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