GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board has determined that factors in a single-engine plane crash in Grove City were a combination of an engine malfunction and the failure of the pilot to perform a pre-flight test.
According to the accident report, the pilot who was en route from White Plains, New York to Akron Fulton Airport on Nov. 24, 2021, diverted to Clarion County Airport after experiencing an oil pressure issue.
At the Clarion airport, the pilot put six quarts of oil in the aircraft and determined that the oil leakage was due to a misplaced dipstick, which caused oil to leak out of the aircraft during flight. A witness said the plane was covered in oil when it landed, the report stated.
Investigators said that after putting the oil in the plane, the pilot took off without performing an engine run-up, which is a standard preflight testing procedure. In addition, a witness said the plane was making “abnormal cracking noises.”
After departing Clarion, the pilot reported engine trouble in flight and was diverted to Grove City Airport, but the pilot told Youngstown air traffic control that he didn’t think he would make it to Grove City and crashed about 1. 5 miles from the airport.
The plane caught fire and much of it was destroyed. The pilot, 65-year-old Richard Briggs, of Cuyahoga Falls, died in the crash. His passenger was taken to a nearby hospital but later died.