Sun, Sep 18, 2005
Man And Friend Killed After Takeoff Into IFR Conditions
According to the NTSB report on a fatal accident near Purdue
University in West Lafayette, IN, the pilot was legally drunk when
he took off in IFR conditions earlier this year.
The pilot, 22-year-old Dustin Walters, and passenger Tiesa Knoth
were killed when their Piper Arrow went down in a heavily wooded
area on the western edge of the university shortly after takeoff on
the morning of March 26. Walters had a blood-alcohol content of .13
percent, over three times the FAA's legal limit of .04 percent for
those flying an airplane.
The NTSB report states
Walters visited several area bars and restaurants the evening
before the accident. According to witnesses, he told those outside
one restaurant "while I'm here at Purdue I'm gonna fly my
"This was followed by [the pilot] displaying his pilot's license
as well as a set of keys advising 'I've got my license and I've got
the keys,'" according to the NTSB report.
Another witness reported later seeing the Arrow take off from
Purdue University Airport (LAF) at approximately 0545 local time. A
600-foot ceiling was reported at the time of the accident, with 5
miles visibility in mist.
NTSB spokeswoman Lauren Peduzzi said it could be a few more
months before the final report on the accident is released.
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