Report suggests open baggage door might have caused airplane crash that killed 2 people

2 passengers dead after small airplane crashes near Westside airport

A 28-year Navy veteran, Arron Sterling, and Louis Pasderetz died in a plane crash on Jacksonville’s Westside one day after Christmas. The plane crashed as they were flying back to Herlong Recreational Airport.

A preliminary report says a baggage door opened on the plane and was facing upward while the pilot was flying.

News4JAX aviation expert Ed Booth says this could be what led to the crash.

“It’s a tremendous distraction to the pilot,” Booth said. “The noise created when that door comes open is disorienting. It may have some aerodynamic effects on the air frame in terms of buffering, and some controllability problems, and the pilot is probably not aware of what’s causing this.

Booth said reducing engine power would stop the noise, perhaps some of the aerodynamic problems.

“He soon restored the power but then failed to maintain proper flying speed,” Booth said. The airplane stalled and spun into the ground. The second scenario is the door breaking off in flight and wrapping itself around the rear control surfaces, jamming them or effecting their effectiveness.”

Booth says based upon this report he does not believe it was an engine failure. NTSB is still investigating the crash.

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