NTSB issues report on fatal plane crash in New Milford


NEW MILFORD — While officials have yet to determine the cause of a New Milford plane crash that killed a flight instructor last month, a preliminary report released Friday may rule out several factors in the accident.

The report from the National Transportation Safety Board shows that the plane had fuel in its tanks at the time of the crash on Aug. 11, but that no fire resulted from the impact near the Candlelight Farms Airport.

The crash killed Anthony Morasco, the 57-year-old instructor on board, and seriously injured the student pilot, Caitlin Jellen, and her father, Peter Jellen, who was a passenger on the Cessna 172 owned by Arrow Aviation in Danbury.

The report indicated that Jellen had about 15 hours of flight time under her belt and Morasco, who held both instructor and commercial pilot certificates, had logged 3,900 hours as of 2012. Morasco didn’t report any flight time when he passed his medial examination in May 2016 and his logbooks have not been located, the report stated.

The NTSB report found the cockpit had dual flight controls, which meant both the student pilot and the flight instructor could operate the aircraft. Jellen did not hold a student pilot certificate at the time of the crash, but one is only required for solo flights.

Thomas Anthony, director of the Aviation Safety and Security Program at the University of Southern California, said, after reviewing the report, that while the plane still had fuel, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was getting to the engine.

“Because there was no fire it would be something of interest to investigators,” he said, noting that more than 25 percent of crashes involving a reciprocating engine, like those found on the Cessna 172, resulted from mechanical failure.

Anthony said investigators will also likely examine the instruments of the aircraft to determine what happened leading up to the crash. Based on the angle of the impact, Anthony said there could have also been a loss of airspeed that would have resulted in a stall. Unlike in a car, a stall on an aircraft is when the wings lose the ability to maintain proper lift.

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