NTSB: Crashed plane's landing gear was up
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.
The National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday said its preliminary investigation into the plane crash that killed the newly appointed head of Ocala Health System indicates that the plane's landing gear was nearly retracted.
Ralph Hicks, senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, said the plane's gear handle, which controls the landing gear, had been pulled up, and that the landing gear was almost back into the plane's frame. Pilots push the handle down to land and pull it up to retract the wheels.
Hicks would not say whether it appeared that pilot P. Allen Golson, 55, was aborting his attempt to land at Ocala International Airport, his final destination from Macon, Ga.
Golson died when his twin-engine Cessna 340 crashed into a field half a mile south of the airport about 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Although the plane's landing gear was almost back in the plane, Golson had just been cleared by the airport to approach the runway. The next step would have been for the airport to give Golson permission to land.
Golson's only passenger was his wife, Carol. She sustained non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center and is recovering.
Hicks said he and other investigators removed both 235-horsepower engines from the plane for inspection and, preliminarily, did not see any "obvious signs of failure." The investigation continues.
According to official documents, Hicks said, Golson bought the plane in December and had clocked 15 hours of flight time with it. He had previously owned another plane similar to the one that crashed.
Hicks said that the Federal Aviation Administration, which is working with the NTSB, already had spoken with Golson's wife. Hicks plans to speak with her later.
Hicks said there were no other obvious signs of what could have caused the crash. The investigation could take six to nine months, but a preliminary report is expected to be released in about a week.