OKLAHOMA CITY – We’re learning more information about a plane crash that claimed the lives of three people in 2016.
Dana Gray, her husband, Tony Gray, and his brother, Jerry Gray, died after their single-engine fixed-wing aircraft came down in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store near Houston’s Hobby Airport in June of 2016.
Family friends said the trio was traveling to Houston to visit a relative in the hospital who was fighting cancer.
Initial reports indicated that Dana Grey was at the controls of the Cirrus SR-20.
“They’re a fast, powerful airplane, but it’s well constructed,” said Hal Harris, a flight instructor at AirOne Flight Academy with more than 40 years of experience. “If they have the proper training and just fly the airplane the way it’s supposed to be done, it’s a safe airplane.”
At the time of the crash, the NTSB said the initial signs pointed to the airplane stalling as it attempted to land.
"Since the witness saw the aircraft had a steep angle of attack and impacted the ground at a steep angle of impact, that is likely the case, yes," said investigator Tom Latson.
Audio transmissions between the cockpit and control tower indicate the pilot was having trouble making her final approach.
Twice, air traffic controllers told her she was coming in too high. The last communication is a controller telling the pilot to "straighten up."
Now, the NTSB has released its final report on the fatal crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the pilot was flying too slowly, which caused the plane to stall out.
"The pilot did not attain a speed between 81 to 83 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) before raising the flaps. Rather, the airplane's airspeed was 58 KIAS when the pilot raised the airplane's flaps while in a left turn, which resulted in exceedance of the critical angle of attack and a subsequent aerodynamic stall and spin into terrain," the report states.
The report states that the instructions given by the air traffic controllers were "complex and potentially distracting." It also states that there is no evidence that Grey had ever landed in Houston before the crash.
The NTSB also states that they did not find evidence that Grey had completed a required flight review within the previous 24 months. The toxicology report claims that Grey had taken Zolpidem, a prescription medication that treats insomnia and may impair mental and physical abilities needed to operate heavy machinery.