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NTSB Final Report: Taylorcraft BL-65

(Pilot) Plead Guilty To A Felony Charge For Obstructing A Federal Investigation By Deliberately Destroying The Airplane Wreckage 

Location: New Cuyama, California Accident Number: WPR22LA049
Date & Time: November 24, 2021, 10:20 Local Registration: N29508
Aircraft: Taylorcraft BL-65 Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Security/criminal event Injuries: 1 Minor

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal Analysis

The pilot reported that the airplane’s engine lost power during cruise flight over mountainous terrain. He stated that after determining that there were no available emergency landing spots, he decided to bail out. The airplane was destroyed during the impact sequence, and the pilot sustained minor injuries as a result of the parachute jump.

Shortly after the accident, the pilot provided a statement regarding the circumstances to the NTSB and FAA, and in a series of correspondences later stated that he had not been able to locate the airplane wreckage. However, evidence gathered by the NTSB and FAA indicated that the pilot had recovered the airplane from the accident site, destroyed it, and then disposed of the remains.

The case was referred to the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, and in May 2023, the pilot admitted to the US Attorney’s Office that he both intentionally crashed the airplane, and destroyed the evidence. He plead guilty to a felony charge for obstructing a federal investigation by deliberately destroying the airplane wreckage. 

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be --  The pilot’s decision to intentionally crash the airplane.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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