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NTSB report: Plane suffered right engine problem before crashing into Groton home


GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the plane that crashed into a house in Groton late on the night of August 17. That report indicates that the plane had a problem with its right engine before crashing into the home.

According to the report, the plane was flown by a student pilot accompanied by a certified flight instructor on the day of the crash.

In the report, the flight is listed as taking off from Groton-New London Airport at approximately 5 p.m. that day and flying to Bangor, Maine, where the Piper PA-34-200 landed without incident. After refueling in Bangor, the plane went on to Augusta, Maine, and then on to Portland, Maine. The student pilot performed one touch-and-go landing in Augusta and three touch-and-go landings in Portland, according to the instructor. A touch-and-go landing involves the pilot touching down on the runway and then taking off again without coming to a stop.

Following those stops, the flight returned to Groton-New London where the student pilot performed two more touch-and-go landings before getting back into the traffic pattern for a final landing on Runway 23 according to the report.

During that final approach, the instructor reported he heard an engine sputter and verified the controls were in the proper position. He heard the engine sputter again and “felt the [airplane] jerk” and stated, “my controls.” That command means the instructor took over flying the plane.

The instructor verified a problem with the plane’s right engine, which was producing less power than the left engine. After testing the engines the instructor states he looked for a place to land and maneuvered for a landing on a street. That’s when the plane crashed into the roof of the home on Ring Drive in Groton.

Related: ‘There is an angel on your shoulder’: Family of homeowner, neighbors react to plane crashing into Groton house

Both pilots were able to walk away from the wreckage with minor injuries, as was the owner of the home who was inside at the time.

There will still be a final report issued in this incident, which could include changes to the details according to the NTSB.

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