The pilot of the small plane that crashed off the coast of Amagansett last month, killing all four people on board, discussed the stormy weather conditions for an hour before takeoff, according to a federal report.
The National Transportation Safety Board, in its preliminary report on the June 2 crash, offered a timeline of the doomed flight but few clues as to what exactly went wrong.
The report, released Tuesday, did not draw conclusions or provide analysis on why the pilot, Jon Dollard of Hampton Bays, lost control of the twin-engine Piper Navajo. A final report is to be issued at an unspecified later date.
Dollard, 47, was carrying passengers Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, both 70, and their grandson William Maerov, 22, all of East Hampton, from Newport State Airport in Rhode Island to East Hampton Airport. He lost altitude twice during the flight, the NTSB reported. The plane was about six miles south of its destination when it dropped to 152 feet from 512 feet, according to the report. It then climbed to 532 feet before again dropping to 152 feet. The plane’s last radar target was recorded at 352 feet.
Dollard did not file a flight plan, which is not a requirement, but discussed the intended flight path with another pilot who was carrying another Krupinski relative and was to fly with Dollard's plane to East Hampton.
The two pilots planned to fly south toward Block Island, Rhode Island, and then turn west, flying along the shoreline to East Hampton. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot of the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, flying five miles in front of the Navajo Dollard was piloting, was informed by Providence air control there was a “bad storm” in the area, and he said he wanted to fly farther south to avoid it.
“He did not know what happened to the Navajo as he did not hear the accident pilot communicate on the radio,” according to the NTSB report.
The Bonanza, which flew at 1,000 feet, landed at East Hampton Airport. The Navajo crashed into the water at 2:30 p.m.
Dollard, who held a commercial pilot certificate and a flight instructor certificate, had reported 3,000 hours total of flight experience, according to the NTSB. The plane had its last inspection on Nov. 3, 2017, and had logged 39 flight hours since then. The Navajo was equipped with two navigation systems, both capable of displaying weather conditions, the NTSB reported.
The wreckage was discovered about a mile south of Indian Wells Beach submerged in 50 feet of water and analyzed offsite, according to the report.
The fuselage separated into multiple pieces, breaking apart from both of its wings. No engine abnormalities were reported except those from saltwater corrosion.
The Krupinskis and Dollard were found in the water in the days after the crash. Police called off the search for William Maerov, who has not been found.