Report: No flight plan filed in Alaska plane crash

National Transportation and Safety Board go-team members examine the remains of an aircraft wreck on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Soldotna, Alaska. The de Havilland DHC3 Otter crashed and burned Sunday, July 7, 2013 at the airport in Soldotna, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. The plane had just taken off and apparently was en route to a fishing lodge, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson. All ten people aboard were killed. (AP Photo/Peninsula Clarion, Rashah McChesney)

ANCHORAGE — No flight plan was filed before an air taxi crashed last month in Alaska, killing all 10 people on board, according to a preliminary report by investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board report released late Wednesday contained no other new details about the July 7 crash in Soldotna. The de Havilland DHC-3 Otter operated by Nikiski-based Rediske Air crashed and burned after taking off from the Soldotna airport, about 75 miles southeast of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

It’s not unusual for such carriers to not file a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Andy Harcombe, a spokesman for Rediske Air. He said many pilots generally work under their company’s own flight plan.

He declined to discuss specifics of the plane involved in the crash, saying he wanted to talk with the NTSB first.

Clint Johnson, head of the NTSB’s Alaska regional office, said Rediske Air had flight-following procedures in place, specifically a flight tracking device in the plane that could upload such information as altitude and speed through satellite.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson agreed it’s not unusual for a flight plan not to be filed with the FAA, nor is it required. One reason people do file flight plans, he said, is to communicate the route, departure time and expected time of arrival in case something goes wrong.

The plane landed more than 2,300 feet from the departure point and 88 feet off the right side of the runway.

A final report is expected to be released 12 to 18 months after the crash, Knudson said.

Killed in the crash were the pilot, Nikiski-based Walter “Willie” Rediske, and two vacationing families from Greenville, S.C.

The families died during what was to be the last leg of a 10-day vacation. They were booked on a flight to visit a remote bear-viewing lodge in Chinitna Bay, about 90 miles southwest of Soldotna.

The crash prompted the NTSB to send an investigative team from Washington, D. C., to sift through the wreckage.

Many communities in Alaska are not connected to the state’s limited road system, with small planes providing a vital link. Air taxis, which offer nonscheduled commercial flights, provide access to remote villages and wilderness areas.


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