Last Tuesday, a plane flown by experienced pilot 33-year-old Joel W. Lansford crashed during an attempted landing at Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Xenia, Ohio. Lansford was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators are now working on interviewing witnesses and examining the plane wreckage to determine the cause of the crash.
MyDaytonDailyNews reports that Lansford was a corporate pilot who had logged more than 2,000 hours of flight time and that at this time the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) does not believe pilot error played a role in the crash.
Lansford’s former employer from the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport/Airpark Ohio, Tim Epperhart, says that Lansford was “a good guy and a great pilot.”
Joel Lansford was promoted to captain when he served with the Ohio Army National Guard in Afghanistan and built a reputation as a strong, diligent officer. He gave up his promotion and took a lower rank so that he could keep flying planes and doing what he loved while serving his country.
Lansford’s final flight was said to be a “routine business flight”, and air traffic controllers have no records of any distress calls coming from his aircraft that evening. Wind conditions were not severe, and the weather seems to have posed no threat to safe flight. As a result of these factors and Lansford’s excellent training and record, investigators are now looking into other possible causes of the crash such as the pilot’s medical record, flight history, and any possible mechanical or maintenance-related issues which may have brought the plane down.
In addition to inspecting the plane wreckage and other tangible pieces of evidence that may point to the cause of the crash, investigators are also interviewing multiple witnesses to the incident. One woman, Tara Speakman, says that investigators have already questioned her twice. “They just wanted me to go over my statement and see if I remember anything else or add anything else to what happened,” she told reporters. She told investigators that she saw the pilot of the Cirrus SR-22 plane make a left turn and saw that the wing of the plane was down before the plane rolled, went into a nosedive, and came down. It was at this time that she called for help.
Another witness said it was clear to her that the plane was going to go down, and that Lansford seemed to attempt to miss a nearby road so as not to harm any other people.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told reporters, “We will be looking at the medical history of the pilot, the licenses, ratings, recent flight experience. Even a 72-hour background so the investigator will be talking to friends and relatives to try to establish how the pilot spent the previous 72 hours to see if there was anything that could have affected the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
Though preliminary results of the NTSB investigation may be released within weeks, the agency says that it often takes more than a year to complete a full investigation into plane crashes, especially when the cause is not immediately apparent.
When a pilot error is ruled out as the cause of a plane crash, other factors including poor runway maintenance, improper plane maintenance, and air traffic controller error may have played a role. Once investigations are concluded, it is sometimes possible for plane crash survivors and individuals who have lost a loved one in a plane crash to hold any negligent parties accountable for their damages. To learn more about aviation accident lawsuits, please contact our experienced attorneys today to schedule a free legal consultation.