Fatal plane and helicopter crashes in Connecticut


DANBURY — A plane that crashed last week during takeoff from Danbury Airport lost altitude quickly and rolled to one side before crashing into a wooded area, according to a preliminary report released by federal investigators.

The report, released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board, said the plane, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk piloted by Redding resident Mark Stern, 63, was “assuming a nose-up attitude” before it rolled to the left and spun to the ground.

Stern, an experienced pilot, died of his injuries four days later. Two other passengers, whom authorities have yet to identify, also suffered serious injuries, the report said.

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Sources have said weight could have been a factor in the crash, but an aviation expert who reviewed the preliminary results for Hearst Connecticut Media said weight is only one of several variables that could have caused the accident.

Matt Robinson, a former aviation accident investigator for the U.S. Navy, said the initial report could also point to a loss of power, cautioning more data would be needed to make a determination.

“One of the most common, insidious and deadly situations is a power interruption shortly after takeoff,” said Robinson, an aviation expert with Pennsylvania-based Robson Forensics.

The report said the plane had begun losing altitude while still over the runway and the pilot appeared to be trying to correct its course.

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