A banner plane crash in Egg Harbor Township last year was caused by the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, according to an accident report that the pilot’s family plans to appeal.
Jason Flood, a 22-year-old pilot from Franklin Township, Gloucester County, suffered numerous broken bones, a crushed lower spine, a torn aorta and extensive internal bleeding when the Bellanca Scout he was flying crashed on Aug. 2, 2011, as he attempted to pick up a banner from an airfield in the Scullville section of the township.
After months of rehabilitation, Flood returned to flying earlier this year. He placed second in his category at the Wildwoods AcroBlast aerobatics competition this July.
A two-page report filed this week by the National Transportation Safety Board cites an unidentified witness who told investigators that the plane was flying about 100 feet above the ground with its wings “wobbling” when it crashed after a fourth unsuccessful attempt to pick up a banner. Flood has said he has no recollection of the accident or the events leading up to it.
No mechanical failures were found during the post-accident examination of the plane, the report says.
It concludes that “the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering near the ground ... resulted in an aerodynamic stall.”
Joseph Flood, Jason’s father, said he disputes the NTSB’s report and plans to file an appeal.
“It's ridiculous,” he said. “It looks like they're just taking the word of an eyewitness going down the parkway.”
A lifelong pilot and owner of an airplane restoration business, Joseph Flood said he believes a stall would have resulted in more significant damage to the airplane.
“How can it be a stall spin when the front of the airplane wasn’t damaged?” he said. “Both (propeller) blades were intact.”
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