A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation report released Friday indicated that poor weather conditions and pilot error likely caused a 2021 plane crash in northern Michigan that killed two men, including one from Livingston County.
Killed in the Nov. 15, 2021 crash near Boyne City were 61-year-old Kenneth Daniel Yott of Pontiac, who was piloting, and 21-year-old Corbin Dennis Kennedy of Howell, a student pilot who officials said wanted to become a professional pilot.
The flight originated out of Oakland County International Airport in Pontiac at 11:50 a.m., climbing to a cruising altitude of 16,000 feet on its way north to the Boyne City Municipal Airport.
The NTSB report said the plane gradually slowed down from 129 to 88 knots as it approached Boyne City. The wreckage was found just over three miles short of the runway and appeared to have hit the ground nose-down at about 12:45 p.m. The report said that investigators determined it had crashed after steep descent.
Witnesses near the accident site told investigators it was sleeting at the time of the crash, with analysts determining that the Beech E-90 likely hit a lake effect band of heavy sleet during the end of the flight, which caused low visibility. No mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have contributed to the crash were discovered.
The report said Yott normally flew larger corporate jets, although he had flown the plane involved in the crash for three years. However,
another pilot who had flown the aircraft said it had rapidly decelerated on at least one other occasion, while a second pilot experienced with the aircraft said he normally landed with partial engine power to avoid premature deceleration,.
Investigators noted that the plane’s manual warned pilots to keep a minimum 140 knots during icing conditions to prevent accumulation, with the report concluding that Yott’s failure to do so had contributed to the crash.
“The pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack while in icing conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent ground impact,” stated the report.
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