Four Killed After Piper Hits Wind Turbine
The NTSB is focusing on why a Piper Lance that hit a wind turbine blade in South Dakota on Sunday was flying lower than 300 feet AGL. Four young cattlemen returning home from a sale in Texas were killed when the aircraft hit the blade and crashed at the South Dakota Wind Energy Center, which operates 27 turbines near Highmore, S.D. "Was the pilot having problems? Was it the weather? Was the airplane having problems?" NTSB Investigator Jennifer Rodi said to ABC News. "We haven't ruled anything out at this point." The wind turbines are 213 feet tall plus blade length.
Weather was reported as being foggy with low cloud and limited visibility and the pilot, Donald Fischer, was instrument rated but was not in contact with air traffic control. It appears he'd flown about 800 miles without a fuel stop. The Lance's range is about 1,000 miles.