NTSB releases its preliminary report in plane crash that killed - WFSB 3 Connecticut

NTSB releases its preliminary report in plane crash that killed NASCAR driver

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The first report by NTSB on the plane crash in which veteran modified NASCAR driver, Ted Christopher was killed was released on Thursday. (WFSB file photo) The first report by NTSB on the plane crash in which veteran modified NASCAR driver, Ted Christopher was killed was released on Thursday. (WFSB file photo)
NORTH BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the plane crash that killed a NASCAR driver in September. 

Veteran modified NASCAR driver, 59-year-old Ted "Teddy" Christopher, was the passenger in a Mooney M20C aircraft that crashed in North Branford on Sept. 16. Christopher died from injuries in the crash after the plane collided with a tree and the terrain in the area of West Street just before 2 p.m. 

"Several witnesses near the accident site stated that they did not see the airplane or hear any engine sounds, but they heard what sounded like a 'crash in the trees," NTSB said in its report on Thursday. 

An eyewitness told the NTSB that the crash sounded like "gravel being dumped out of a dump truck." NTSB also stated that several homeowners searched the area looking for about an hour. 

The NTSB said the plane crashed into "75-ft-tall pine trees in a steep descending attitude before coming to rest up against trees in a nose-down position on its right side." 

"The right wing separated from the fuselage at the wing root during impact, and was the first piece of wreckage discovered at the start of the debris path," NTSB said in its report on Thursday. 

The NTSB said the personal flight started from Robertson Field Airport in Plainville, Connecticut and was destined for Francis S Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach in New York.

NTSB officials said the right fuel tank was breached during the crash. Evidence of fuel was located on the trees and vegetation near the initial impact point.

"The engine remained attached to the mounts and remained largely intact," NTSB said in its report on Thursday. 

The propeller also remained attached to the crankshaft flange and "was largely intact."

"There was no evidence of rotational scoring and two of the blades were not damaged. One of the blades was bent aft about 30° and the propeller spinner was crushed on one side," NTSB said in its report on Thursday. 

The pilot, who was 81-year-old Charles Dundas, from New York and Florida, and Christopher, had been flying together for more than 10 years and had done this same route multiple times. 

Dundas also died from injuries suffered in the plane crash. 

Stafford Speedway announced that Christopher's No. 13 was retired during a ceremony in September.  Stafford Speedway General Manager Mark Arute told the Associated Press that Christopher was "a fixture" at the track. His first start at Stafford was in May 1983, his first win was in 1986, and his last was Sept. 8. During his career, Christopher had 131 wins, 109 SK Modified wins, and nine SK Modified track championships.

The wreckage of the Mooney M20C aircraft is in the possession of the NTSB "for further examination."

To read the full report, click here

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