SHOW LOW, Ariz. — A single-engine plane that crashed Dec. 22 near a rural Arizona airport, killing the pilot and his passenger, had just aborted an approach because of proximity to another small plane that was already inbound, federal investigators say.
A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released Jan. 6 said both pilots aborted their approaches after a Show Low Regional Airport employee got on the radio after seeing the two planes “near each other.”
Like many smaller airports, the Show Low airport doesn’t have a control tower and pilots preparing to land or take off rely on visual observations and other pilots’ radio announcements of their intentions.
The pilot killed in the crash had apologized over the radio after turning away from the airport, saying he had been on the wrong frequency, the report said.
Witnesses reported then seeing one wing of the plane tilt downward before it “descended steeply towards the ground” before the impact, the report said.
Authorities previously identified those killed as David Gillette, 40, of Utah and Lorelai Johansen, 11, of Tucson, Arizona.
The preliminary report did not state an official cause for the crash. The NTSB is expected to issue a final report later.