NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The National Transportation Safety Board released its latest findings Tuesday (Sept. 3) on the flight that killed pilot Franklin Augustus and FOX 8 anchor Nancy Parker.
On Aug. 16, shortly after 3 p.m., a Pitts S2B aerobatic airplane, N600DF, registered to Drug Fighter LLC, was destroyed following a forced landing shortly after takeoff from the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, the NTSB said.
“Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91,” the report said. The code is used as operating rules for pilots.
Parker was shooting part of the documentary and in the pilot’s aerobatic airplane. The takeoff was filmed. The film shows the airplane’s run-up and takeoff.
Initial review of the film shows the airplane lift off the runway and climb out, then turn to the left toward a downwind. Tower personnel reported that the pilot requested a return to the airport via radio shortly after takeoff.
The pilot did not specify the reason for wanting to return. The tower acknowledged the pilot to return to the airport.
“According to witnesses and tower personnel, the airplane was flying on what appeared to be a left downwind toward runway 36, heading south of the airport. The airplane continued flying south and did not return toward the airport,” the report said.
Witnesses observed the airplane in what appeared to be in a steep descent, before impact in an open field about nearly a mile south of the airport.
Investigators said the plane impacted the ground about 45-degrees nose down. A post-impact fire consumed most of the airframe.
The accident site was documented, and the wreckage was transported to a secure facility for detailed examinations of the airframe and engine. A review of the airplane's historical maintenance logs was conducted and no deficiencies were noted, the NTSB said.
Parker was 53, and Augustus was 69 at the time of their deaths.
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