A small plane crash in Midland County two years ago that killed a Lake City woman and injured her husband was likely caused by “fuel starvation” engine failure, according to a recent National Transportation Safety Board report.
Dorothy Granger, 64, died of blunt force trauma at the crash site, and her husband, William Granger, 64, was hospitalized after the crash landed in a farmer’s field near East Shaffer Road and North Sturgeon Road in Mills Township. 1, 2020.
The couple departed Home Acres Sky Ranch Airport in Lake City at about 11:25 a.m. that day and arrived at Jack Barstow Airport in Midland about 12:05 p.m., according to the NTSB’s seven-page final crash report.
Granger later told investigators that he and his wife, also a pilot, “flew” the single-engine plane before leaving Lake City with the right fuel tank full and the left fuel tank “partially full.” said that he does not know which fuel tank was used during the first 30 minutes of the flight.
NTSB records show that Granger told the investigator Dorothy had flown the first part of her journey and “landed beautifully” in Midland. Then they decided to continue the journey to meet another pilot.
They filled their 1959 Piper PA-24-250 with about 18 gallons of aviation gasoline and took off, the report said.
“The pilot reported that he had little recollection of the accident portion of the flight, but it is likely that he was flying that portion of the flight,” the final report said. “He remembered taxiing the plane for takeoff and doing the engine run before takeoff. He didn’t remember anything after the helicopter.”
According to the report, the data showed he left at about 12:37 p.m., climbed to 2,550 feet, and then began a right turn toward the airport.
A person who monitors the airport’s regular traffic advisory frequency said that “the pilot reported an engine failure and indicated he was going to make a forced landing in a field,” federal records show. During the events, the pilot’s voice was described as “calm”.
The last point recorded showed the aircraft at an altitude of 675 feet. It hit a wall and a large grassy hill.
At approximately 12:45 p.m., the aircraft came to rest 50 feet west of a sand dune and struck a barbed wire on impact. The main wreckage was described as empennage, fuselage, both wings, engine and propeller mounts.
A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine “did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal operation,” officials said.
According to the report, the right fuel bladder and fuel lines were empty. There was no evidence of fuel or fuel stains on the right side of the aircraft.
“The available evidence indicates that the engine lost power due to fuel starvation, as the right fuel tank was empty and the left tank contained an unknown amount of fuel at the time of the accident,” investigators said.