The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

November 30, 2012

Report details 2011 fatal plane crash

OTTUMWA — Federal investigators have finished gathering information on a fatal plane crash that occurred in Ottumwa last year.

Around 5:30 p.m. June  30, 2011, a small plane crashed a few hundred feet short of a runway at Ottumwa Regional Airport. Bystanders who saw or heard the crash rushed to help the pilot. Despite the risk, they removed the pilot from the burning plane.

Pilot Rex Yoakam, 60, of Hedrick, survived the crash but died hours later due to his injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration found that the plane impacted terrain and a tree while attempting to land at the Ottumwa airport.

Federal investigators talked to witnesses, inspected the crash site and put parts of the engine back together to see if it ran without trouble. The cause of death was listed, and a final autopsy report last month found medicine typically used for the treatment of rapid heartbeat. None of these factors was listed as contributing to the crash, but any of the details could be important as experts struggle to discover why the plane crashed.

“This is why [it takes time and] people wonder what’s taking so long,” said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro at the agency’s Kansas City office.

Because there was a fatality, the National Traffic Safety Board runs the investigation.  

“We gather all the information for the investigation, then hand it over to the NTSB,” Molinaro said.

The current three-page “Factual Information Report” will be used by the NTSB to issue a final statement, a “probable cause” report. There is no timeline, however, on when the cause will be determined.

A spokesman at the NTSB on Thursday said it’s “usually within a couple months” that the final report will be issued.

What is known, however, is that the plane was having some sort of problems in the days prior to the crash.

This initial report says the  pilot flew the airplane to Ottumwa on June 28 and fueled up, but when he went to leave, was unable to start the plane. A receipt for parts to repair the starter was dated June 30.

A witness to the accident reported that he had talked with Yoakam for about an hour prior to the accident. They reportedly discussed the airplane’s glide characteristics in the event of engine failure. Yoakam said if the engine were to quit that he would have to put the airplane into a dive and get it on the ground.

The witness said after their conversation the pilot took off in the “accident airplane” and performed two low passes down the runway and then left the area. The flight from Ottumwa was going to the pilot's private airstrip near Hedrick.

The witness was in flight later when, in the distance, he saw Yoakam’s plane  approaching. First, it overflew the runway from above other traffic. The airplane proceeded past the end of runway and turned left onto what the witness believed was an approach for runway 22.

When the airplane was on the crosswind part of the approach, “the witness saw the nose of the airplane pitch down and descended and maneuvered toward  the  airport. The airplane subsequently struck a farm field and then a tree. A post-impact fire ensued.”

The plane was “an amateur-built Ray Aerial Spraying model 773 Racer reminiscent of a 1930s air racer.” It had a wingspan of 21.5 feet and a Ranger V-12 engine providing 520 horsepower.

“The direction of travel and location of impact were consistent with an attempted return to the runway,” the report states.

Around that time, recorded weather conditions showed 16 mph winds, 10 miles visibility and clear skies. After the initial impact, the airplane traveled about 250 feet before coming to rest.

Both wings were almost completely consumed by fire.

Examination of the airplane’s flight control system, engine and ignition system revealed no evidence of a pre-impact failure or malfunction.

The carburetor had extensive fire damage, so no guess could be made on how it was running. No evidence that the fire erupted in-flight was found.

This was a qualified pilot, the report indicates. Yoakam also held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. He had medical clearance issued in July 2010.

Yoakam held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, multi-engine land and instrument airplane  ratings. An FAA review of records indicated he had 6,581.8 hours of total flight time, most in single-engine airplanes.

 

 

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National