What the NTSB found in its preliminary report of the Lafayette plane crash

Ashley White
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
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A small passenger plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Lafayette Regional Airport last month left a debris path of about 800 feet as it hit trees and power lines, then crashed across the road into a parking lot.

The National Transportation and Safety Board offered some additional detail Tuesday about the crash that killed five people, including a description of the wreckage path. 

The plane that departed for Atlanta hit the trees and power lines in front of an apartment on Verot School Road, then hit the road and continued across the U.S. Post Office parking lot, witnesses told the NTSB.

It crashed in a field next to the post office near Verot School and Feu Follet roads.

The wreckage path included pieces of the plane and tree debris. It extended from the trees and power lines for about 800 feet, the NTSB wrote in a preliminary report released Tuesday. 

"The right wing, the outboard left wing, both engines, both elevator controls, the rudder, the instrument panel, and forward cabin separated from the main fuselage and pieces were located in the debris field," according to the report. "The main wreckage consisted of the main fuselage and the inboard left wing."

MORE:Lafayette plane crash: No black box, no distress call, NTSB said

The three-page report laid out most of the information investigators had already presented to the public. Officials have indicated the condition of the wreckage will make it difficult to assess the crash. A final report is expected to be released in 12 to 18 months.

MORE:Lafayette plane crash: Fire Department releases names of victims

The crash killed five of the six passengers on board the flight, including the pilot. The sixth passenger is in serious condition at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in its Burn Center. Another woman in her car in the parking lot of the post office was injured when the plane hit her car, causing it to roll and catch on fire. 

Witnesses told the NTSB they first heard an airplane flying overhead at a low altitude. Several witnesses said it sounded as if both engines were at a high rpm, according to the report. 

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A flight plan had been filed for the plane that took off from Lafayette's airport. The pilot, Ian Biggs, contacted the Lafayette ground controller and requested clearance to fly to Atlanta's Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, according to the report. 

Biggs was given clearance to take off from runway 22L.

"As the airplane approached the holdshort line for the runway, the pilot advised that the airplane was ready for takeoff and the controller cleared the airplane to depart from runway 22L," according to the report. 

MORE:Lafayette plane crash victims: A 15-year-old, a mother, a pilot, a 'great friend'

Biggs successfully changed frequency and established communications with the next air traffic controller, the report said. 

Within milliseconds, the plane climbed in altitude to reach its peak of 925 feet mean sea level (msl). After reaching its peak, the plane started a continuous descent to the ground while it continued its left roll, according to the report. 

Biggs did not respond to a low-altitude alert from air traffic control. There was no mayday or emergency transmission recorded from the plane. 

Contact Ashley White at adwhite@theadvertiser.com or on Twitter @AshleyyDi

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