The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday released its preliminary report for the Oct. 31 plane crash off Cape Cod which resulted in the death of the pilot.
The single engine Piper 28 was flying from Pennsylvania to Chatham, Massachusetts, when it was reported missing off Nauset Beach in Orleans. Its debris was found four days later on Nov. 3, 80 feet underwater and about 2.5 miles from the Cape Cod National Seashore, according to the NTSB's report.
Tracking data from the Federal Aviation Administration shows that the plane had begun its descent to Chatham Municipal Airport around 6:45 p.m. the night of the crash. But the pilot continued past the airport and made a turn northeast over the Atlantic Ocean before making a 270-degree turn. At this point, the plane started descending rapidly, before tracking data was lost around 6:50 p.m.
The pilot, whose body has not been recovered, was the only person on the plane. His name has not been released.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
He had left Reading, Pennsylvania at around 5 p.m. on the day of the accident. Tracking data provided by the FAA shows that the plane was flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet for most of the flight.
A friend of the pilot contacted the Air Force Regional Command Center after waiting for him at the Chatham airport for almost two hours. The FAA reported the aircraft missing around 10 p.m. on Oct. 31.
The FAA was not providing any air traffic control services during the accident.
According to FAA records, the pilot had a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He had reported 300 hours of total flight experience at his most recent medical certificate, in November 2019, according to the NTSB report. He did not have an instrument rating, which allows pilots to fly under certain weather conditions where visibility is limited.
The plane, which was built in 1979, had last been inspected in January 2021, according to FAA records.