A loss of power apparently caused the plane piloted by Paducah orthopedic surgeon Clint Hill to crash near Barkley Regional Airport, resulting in his death Oct. 31, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report, WPSD Local 6 reported Friday.
The report says the PA 32R Piper Saratoga was destroyed during the forced landing. According to the report, when Hill was preparing to land in Paducah, he told the local traffic controller he was lined up to land on Runway 14, the controller approved him for landing, and Hill acknowledged the controller's response. About 1 minute and 30 seconds after that communication, the report says, Hill told the controller "I've lost power."
"The controller asked the pilot if he thought the airplane would reach the runway," the report says. "And the pilot responded, 'Yes.' Soon after, the pilot advised, 'I'm not going to make it. I'm in the trees.' There were no further communications from the accident airplane."
The preliminary report says the plane crashed into the wooded area, in alignment with Runway 14.
The report says investigators found problems with the plane's fuel system. It says, "examination of the fuel selector valve revealed the selector plate was out of the detent and not fully seated in the right fuel tank position."
WPSD reported that Hill's plane took off from Mitchell, South Dakota, around 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. The plane crashed into a wooded area at 7:26 p.m. near railroad tracks a few miles away from Barkley Regional.