HOOKSETT, N.H. (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – The operator of a single-engine plane that crashed on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire at the end of October reportedly lost contact with air traffic control shortly before colliding with a light stanchion on the eastbound side of the highway.
According to a preliminary investigation, Herman and Doris Hassinger departed Block Island State Airport in Block Island, R.I. on Oct. 25. Herman Hassinger, the pilot, landed the aircraft at Boire Field in Nashua, N.H. to clean the plane's windscreen before continuing on to their final destination, Laconia Municipal Airport in Laconia, N.H.
Investigators said Herman Hassinger appeared to be in good spirits prior to departure, and the plane did not take on any fuel; however, the pilot had not filed a flight plan.
Review of air traffic control and radar data reveal that the pilot contacted the Boston terminal radar approach facility at 12:39 p.m. shortly after takeoff. At 12:49 p.m., the airplane was observed making a 180-degree turn from its established northerly course from the south, and the airplane's transponder code was lost.
Air traffic control attempted to contact the pilot several times, but no response was received.
The airplane was lost from radar contact at 1:06 p.m.
The airplane made initial impact with the light stanchion, located on the east side of Interstate 93. The main wreckage came to rest against the guardrail on the west side of the northbound lanes.
Both Herman and Doris Hassinger were killed in the crash.
The airplane was recovered from the interstate and examined in a hangar. The cabin area exhibited significant impact damage, and the empennage remained intact. The landing gear was observed in the retracted position. Control continuity was established from all flight controls to the cockpit area.
The engine remained attached to the airframe by various lines, cables, and hoses. The propeller was separated at the flange, and all three blades remained attached at the hub, 2 of the blades exhibiting leading edge gouging and s-bending, with the third blade relatively undamaged.
The engine was rotated by hand through the accessory drive, and valve train continuity was confirmed. Compression was obtained on all cylinders using the thumb method. The top spark plugs were removed; each was light gray in color and exhibited normal wear. Both left and right magnetos produced spark on all terminal leads.
A report released by the FAA shortly after the crash shows that the plane, which is registered in Herman Hassinger's name, was involved in another crash in 2010 when its landing gear failed in Nashua.
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