After Sloppy Preflight, CAP Member Trio Perish Enroute to FAA Safety Seminar

Civil Air Patrol crash of Col John E. Tilton Jr, Lt Col David Williams and Capt William C. Young
Civil Air Patrol crash of Col John E. Tilton Jr, Lt Col David Williams and Capt William C. Young

by Will Burnya | AuxBeacon News Contributor

Today the NTSB released their final report exposing Civil Air Patrol personality Col John E. Tilton Jr as the cause of a November 13th 2012 crash that killed himself and two other Civil Air Patrol members.

Col John E. Tilton was a former member of Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors and former commander of both Alabama Wing and Southeast Region. Lt Col David Williams was the Mississippi Wing’s standardization/evaluation officer and Capt William C. Young was the finance officer for the Maj James McKinnie Composite Squadron.

Before the accident flight of these three Civil Air Patrol members, the airplane had sat in its hangar for the previous 2 months with its fuel tanks half full under varying temperature conditions. The manager of the hangar facility described the pilot’s preflight inspection as “real quick.” About 2 minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported an “engine problem” to air traffic control and turned the airplane back toward the airport. The airplane subsequently descended at a steep angle, consistent with a stall, into a house located in a populated area. The airplane impacted the roof, came to rest upside down, and was subsequently mostly consumed in a postcrash fire.

Today the NTSB offered a very different story from what the Civil Air Patrol leadership had to say just after this deadly crash.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

“The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in his failure to note the water in the fuel tank due to condensation, which subsequently shut down the engine in flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s self-induced pressure to expedite the departure.”

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Three Civil Air Patrol Officers Killed on Flight to Safety Meeting