NTSB Releases Preliminary Report On Fatal Plane Crash

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A federal investigator says the engines weren't producing power when a twin-engine Cessna crashed northeast of Colorado Springs, killing both men aboard.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jennifer Rodi says an early investigation revealed no mechanical anomalies with the flight control. The NTSB will now focus on 76-year-old William Boecking and 60-year-old Daniel Saunders' training, experience and health background.

The preliminary report, released Friday, four days after the crash, says:

"On August 23, 2010, approximately 1030 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 310C, N896H, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain four miles southeast of Calhan, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 91 without a flight plan. The commercial pilot and commercial certificated flight instructor were fatally injured. The local flight departed Meadow Lake Airport, Colorado Springs, Colorado, approximately 0930.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the airplane was �maneuvering in the practice area� and was receiving radar flight following services from Colorado Spring approach. The airplane was lost on radar at 1029. The wreckage of the airplane was located in a field just after 1100 by a local resident.

The airplane came to rest upright, oriented on an approximate heading of north, in a field characterized by rolling terrain and grassy vegetation. The main wreckage consisted of the empennage, fuselage, both wings, and both engine and propeller assemblies.

According to a weather observation taken at 0954 from The City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, the winds were recorded at 060 degrees at 17 knots, visibility ten statute miles, scattered clouds at 11,000 feet, temperature 26 degrees Celsius, dew point 11 degrees Celsius, and altimeter of 30.24 inches."

Boecking & Saunders were licensed pilots and died in the crash. Rodi says the deadly flight was an instructional or flight review for the pilot.

The El Paso County Coroner's Office has ruled their deaths accidental and say autopsy results show both men died from blunt force trauma.

Daniel Saunders was a member of El Paso County Search and Rescue for about 10 years.

Steve Sperry of the search and rescue team says Saunders was a great guy, who was very helpful. Sperry says one time he even took his own plane up to search for an Alzheimer's victim.

11 News spoke with William Boecking's daughter on Tuesday. Jule Boecking says she was the last person he made contact with, in a text message.

Julie Boecking and her dad exchanged text messages before he took off and each said, "I love you."

William Boecking was a retired Air Force Major and earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam. His daughter tells 11 News he had a passion for flying and was updating his pilot certification at the time of the crash.

"He was incredible. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He worked at a school district here in Colorado Springs. He was amazing," said Julie Boecking.

Julie Boecking says her father was a bus driver for Harrison School District 2.

Homeowner Leslie Dahlberg was the first person to drive up on the accident, which happened on her property. She says at first, she thought it was a truck, then realized as she got closer, it was a crashed plane " I thought it had just landed so I stopped and went into my field to see if everything was okay, and then I realized it had crashed".

The NTSB, the FAA, Cessna, and other agencies will now try to figure out what went wrong. The Safety Board says it could take up to eight months to figure out an exact cause, but does expect to have a preliminary report out in the next few days.

William Boecking is survived by his wife, four children and three grandchildren.