LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — A pilot who died in a fiery, plane crash near the Lake Havasu Airport in September was reportedly taking off in an aircraft with a faulty engine.
The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report that showed the pilot's plane had an engine with evidence of corrosion and wear.
The plane crashed with only the pilot on board after witnesses observed that the plane took off at slow groundspeeds and the engine sounded "rough."
Officials said the pilot attempted to turn the plane around to land shortly after take off but crashed in the desert terrain near the airport.
On Sept. 12, officials said the pilot was planning on making a long, cross-country trip to Reno, Nevada. The pilot filled the plane up with fuel that afternoon and performed maintenance on it because he was feeling vibrations on take off and landings.
The pilot departed around 4:08 p.m. Witnesses described the plane as if it took off with partial power, officials said. Authorities said the plane did not ascend as high as expected before the pilot attempted to make an aggressive, 180-degree turn back towards the runway.
Witnesses said the plane's wingspan nearly turned completely vertical before stalling and then dropping towards the terrain, left-wing first. Majority of the plane was consumed by fire in the crash.
Police received reports of the crash nearly two minutes after the initial take off.
The pilot's spouse told officials that he did the majority of his own maintenance and that he regularly flew the airplane since they purchased it in 2013.
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