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Mechanical Problems Unlikely Cause Of Cirrus Crash

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The lead NTSB air safety investigator looking into last weekend’s fatal crash in California of a Cirrus SR22 Turbo piloted by Cirrus salesman Thomas Leveque told AVweb that she has "no reason to believe there was loss of any flight control prior to impact." Investigator Zoe Keliher, who works out of the NTSB’s Gardena, Calif., office, said she’s "focused on finding good reliable witnesses" and has already interviewed Leveque’s close friend, who told her Leveque was flying from San Carlos to Paso Robles on Sunday with the intention of spending the weekend with the friend and his wife. The friend told Keliher that Leveque flew past his house at 1,000-2,000 feet AGL, "as he had done many times before." Just prior to the fly-by, Leveque reportedly called the friend from his cellphone and "after a quick exchange, he hung up and the witness saw him do a series of descents and ascents followed by a turn, and the crash was shortly thereafter." Keliher said what’s left of the badly charred aircraft has been delivered to a storage yard near Los Angeles. Leveque was Western Region sales rep and demo pilot for Cirrus and the aircraft crashed on a ranch near Creston, Calif. Keliher, who is also a pilot and has investigated other Cirrus events, said she found a chip from the plane’s MFD that might contain additional information about the aircraft’s condition but she’s "not hopeful" due to the fire damage. Keliher said her preliminary report will be available on the NTSB’s website "in a couple of days." Leveque's death came days after Cirrus employees mourned the loss of another worker in Duluth who died of medical problems.

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