NTSB: No Flight Plan, Aborted Takeoff Prior to Fatal Eden Prairie Crash

October 11, 2017 03:38 PM

The pilot who died when his experimental plane crashed last week in Eden Prairie had not filed a flight plan and had aborted a previous takeoff attempt, according to a National Transportation Safety Board accident report.

The preliminary report on the Oct. 4 crash that killed 77-year-old Phil Schaffer of Richfield says several witnesses reported the plane was unstable during takeoff, and the plane pitched up and down and banked as it climbed.


RELATED: Richfield Man Identified as Pilot Killed in Eden Prairie Plane Crash

Schaffer, a private rated pilot, was flying an experimental single-engine Fisher Horizon 2 airplane. He took off from Eden Prairie's Flying Cloud Airport about 11:03 a.m. Oct. 4. Weather was not a factor in the crash.

One witness said that after takeoff he could see the top of the wings as if the airplane was straight up and down before it turned to the southeast, according to the report.

Other witnesses said they saw the plane in a steep left-spiral nosedive before they lost sight of it below the tree line. The plane made one-and-a-half to three spiral rotations prior to that point, the witnesses reported.

RELATED: CHOPPER 5: Aerial Footage of Small Plane Crash Site in Eden Prairie

The plane crashed into the parking lot and caught fire at the Resurrection Life Church on Glory Road at 11:08 a.m. The NTSB report says the plane made impact with the lot in at least two places, and the plane's right wing was found wrapped around a light pole about 210 feet from the initial impact. 

RELATED: RAW: News Conference on Fatal Small Plane Crash in Eden Prairie

Among the wreckage investigators found burned fuel tanks, the engine, what remained of the cockpit and fuselage, elements of the aircraft's tail and the propeller hub. Much of the wreckage was destroyed by fire, the report says. 

Schaffer was issued a private pilot's license in 2010, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. He also held an Repairman Experimental Aircraft Builder certificate issued in August 2016 for the Horizon model plane. 


Michael Oakes

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