Preliminary report on EcoFlyer crash released

The investigation into the April 27 fatal crash of the Ecoflyer has determined that impact was severe. According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the debris trail from the crash was a quarter of a mile long. All major components were accounted for at the scene with the exception of the right horizontal stabilizer. The crash happened just outside Lebanon, New York.

Bernard Laferriere, 56, president of Explorer Aeronautique, was on his way home to Trois-Rivieres Airport, Quebec, Canada, after spending a week at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. Laferriere had been exhibiting the bulbous Light Sport Aircraft at the show.

According to the NTSB report, Laferriere’s last stop was at Lt. Warren Eaton Airport (OIC), in Norwich, New York. Laferriere told personnel at the airport that he had experienced “rough air and wind gusts like he had never seen before.” He appeared shaken up by the experience.

The aircraft was refueled, then Laferriere called the Buffalo Flight Service Station and requested information regarding restricted airspace along his route of flight into Canada. There was no record of him obtaining a weather briefing or filing a flight plan. Airport personnel said Laferriere spent several hours at the airport waiting for the winds to subside before taking off again.

According to the AWOS at OIC, at 1:45 p.m. on the day of the accident the surface winds were recorded as 220° at 8 knots, gusting to 18. The winds remained relatively constant for the next several hours. Laferriere took off at 4:30. At 4:45, the winds were recorded at 240° at 8 knots gusting to 20.

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