Small plane that crashed into New Hampshire lake had started to climb from descent, report says

Associated Press

Published: 10-18-2023 5:31 PM

GILFORD, N.H. (AP) — A small plane that crashed into Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire began to climb from a descent before it headed down again, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report.

The body of the pilot, the only person on board, was recovered the day after the Sept. 30 crash. The wreckage of the Cessna 150 plane was found in about 57-foot-deep water, the board said in its report, issued late Monday afternoon.

The pilot was not named in the report. He was identified by the state Fish and Game Department as Robert Ashe, of West Ossipee, New Hampshire. The plane was registered Ashe, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The NTSB said the pilot had departed from the Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport in Providence at about 6:10 p.m. on Sept. 30 and was destined for the Laconia Municipal Airport in Gilford, which is near the lake. The pilot entered a right downwind leg of the traffic pattern for the runway at about 7:38 p.m. The wind was calm, the sky was clear and visibility was about 5 miles (8 kilometers).

“The airplane continued on the downwind and made a slight left turn while over Lake Winnipesaukee. The airplane then entered a descending right turn before it then began to climb. The airplane then entered another descending right turn before radar contact was lost,” the report said.

Witnesses said they could see the plane’s landing lights. One witness said the plane went “full throttle” and “dove down” in a descending right turn. A few seconds later, it crashed with the engine at “full power,” the report said.

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The plane’s major flight control components were accounted for and there was no evidence of any in-flight or post-impact fire, the report said.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate and his last flight review was dated Sept. 9, the report said. No nighttime flying was noted in his logbook, which dated back to December 2020.