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Pilot Saw Doomed Plane Before Takeoff, Said It May Have Had Engine Trouble

The NTSB issued a preliminary report about the June 18 plane crash just outside the Westchester County Airport that killed four people.

A pilot who saw the Cessna plane on the runway at the Westchester County Airport last weekend just before it crashed, killing four people, said it sounded like the plane may have had some mechanical trouble, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

An unidentified pilot said that on June 18 he saw Keith Weiner, who piloted the plane that crashed, perform “about eight engine run-ups at the end of runway prior to departure,” said the report. The pilot said the engine made a “chugga-chugga” sound during the first few run-ups then smoothed out during the final two or three run-ups prior to departure.

The man told the NTSB that said it sounded like Weiner was “trying to clean the spark plugs” or having trouble with the magnetos firing properly. 

Weiner made an emergency radio call to air traffic control just after takeoff and said he needed to return to the airport, according to the report. That was the last recognizable communication from Weiner.

Manhattan residents Weiner, 63, his wife, Lisa, 51, their 14-year-old daughter Isabel, and her friend Lucy Walsh, also 14, died in the crash.

The NTSB has not announced the definitive cause of the accident. Ralph Hicks, a senior air safety investigator at the NTSB, said in a press briefing last weekend that the aircraft collided with trees when it was about 50 feet above the ground and burst into flames upon impact, with the resulting fire consuming the fuselage and cockpit.

The Montauk-bound flight left the Westchester County Airport at around 1 p.m. Saturday and crashed just a mile from the airport in Armonk.

Weiner owned an art gallery in Piermont called Gallerie Cavu, its name drawn from an aviation term meaning fair weather. Weiner’s parents, who live in Pearl River, helped him operate the shop. His father, William Weiner, told the Daily News that his son was an experienced flight instructor.

phyllis segura June 24, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Cavu gallery was in Piermont a long time ago.
Robert Scovill June 24, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Maybe another clue... "National Transportation Safety Board regional director David Bowling said Monday that one of the agency's investigators will reconstruct how the crash occurred in an effort to learn whether it could have been prevented." Try testing for undetectable water in the fuel tanks of any other Cessna 210. Pour sixteen ounces of red dyed water into the fuel tank as the aircraft sits in its normal ground attitude. Go to the sump drain see if you can positively detect and eliminate the same 16 ounces you just poured into the fuel tank. NTSB has known about the indicated design flaw for decades but does nothing. Whether undetectable water in the fuel tanks played a role in this crash or not the indicated design flaw still exists. NTSB do the test. NTSB Safety Recommendation A-83-6, FAA Safety Recommendations 99.283 & 99.284, SAIB CE-10-40R1, http://www.sumpthis.com/hwdocs... NTSB step outside the investigative box, put your checklist down and do a test for water hiding in the fuel!
Robert Scovill June 24, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Maybe this is a clue... SAIB Number: CE-10-40R1 Issue Date: 07/30/2010 This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin is to inform pilots, owners, operators and maintenance and service personnel of Cessna Aircraft Company Model 100, 200 or 300 series , any model and/or suffix in the series of airplanes as applicable OF THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH WATER CONTAMINATION OF FUEL TANK SYSTEMS. Could this SAIB have anything to do with the indicated design flaw of undetectable water in the fuel tanks of Cessna fuel tanks? Have you tested your Cessna fuel tank for positive detection of fuel contamination? I have tested the Cessna 172P, Cessna 172RG, Cessna 150 and Cessna 152. All failed my test for positive detection of fuel contamination during the pre-flight. SAIB CE-10-40R1 is all about prevention of water in Cessna fuel tanks but nothing about positive detection of water in the fuel tank once prevention has failed. What if your fuel tanks were sabotaged the night before your preflight the next morning. I would rather positively detect and eliminate any hazardous quantity of water that the saboteur introduced before takeoff. When prevention fails for any reason positive detection and elimination of any hazardous quantity of water any where in the fuel tank as the aircraft sits in its normal ground attitude must prevail. Fact is positive detection and elimination DO NOT WORK!

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