NTSB report details November crash at Memphis International - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

NTSB report details November crash at Memphis International

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Investigators released new information Thursday about the airplane crash that killed Pilot Emmet O'Ryan and seriously injured his three passengers on November 29th at Memphis International Airport.

A National Transportation and Safety Board Report says air traffic controllers at Memphis International gave two warnings to the pilot that the single engine plane was approaching at an altitude that was too low before it crashed.

The Piper aircraft was returning from a Thanksgiving weekend in West Virginia.  According to the report, the airplane entered Memphis Approach airspace at an altitude of 4,000 feet and was later cleared to 3,000 feet.

The airplane continued its descent until it reached an altitude of 900 ft.

The air traffic controller issued a low altitude alert and current altimeter setting, which was acknowledged by O'Ryan, who responded, "Roger, 43C, sorry about that."

Just over two miles from the runway, the report claims, the plane climbed to 1,300 feet, then dipped quickly back down to 900 feet.  The air traffic controller then issued another low altitude alert.  Radar indicated the plane climbed back to 1,200 feet but was losing air speed.  That's when the plane landed in a grassy area about a mile short of the runway.

It skidded less than 100 yards before running into a concrete barrier and bursting into flames.

The report claims the crash occurred on a misty afternoon, with an overcast cloud layer at 300 feet.

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