NTSB Preliminary Report Out On Cirrus Rep Crash
The NTSB this week issued a preliminary report on the Dec. 30 crash of a Cirrus SR22 in Paso Robles, Calif., that killed Cirrus sales representative Thomas Leveque. The report echoes information that AVweb learned from an earlier interview with the NTSB investigator in charge of the accident, in that it does not provide any indication of a mechanical failure. It will be several months before the NTSB issues its final report and probable cause. According to the preliminary report, N254SR departed San Carlos Airport that morning bound for Paso Robles Municipal Airport in visual meteorological conditions. A close friend of the pilot said that Leveque called him from a cellphone while in flight approaching his house. Leveque had made low passes over the friend's house "on many occasions" to signal the friend to pick him up from the airport, which is about a 15-minute drive away.
The friend told the NTSB that he observed the airplane approaching his house in "a nose-high configuration with full power" when "he heard the telephone drop and the pilot make a few inaudible comments." The report also confirms early rumors that the plane was observed doing a "barrel roll" just prior to impact with terrain, but does not indicate whether that maneuver may have been intentional. Several nearby residents said they had previously seen an airplane maneuvering low to the ground in the area, which the NTSB report described as "rolling hills ... comprised of dirt and dry grass and populated by scattered oak trees typical of the central California region." The main wreckage was located at about 1,115 feet MSL.