Civil Air Patrol Cadet Passes in Fiery Plane Crash

Elizabeth Lake Little
Civil Air Patrol Cadet MSgt Elizabeth "Lake" Little

By AuxBeacon News Contributors

[Editor’s Note: We received word of this tragic story from several of our readers during our unfortunate down time. We thank all of you for your continued contributions in addressing the national problem that is Civil Air Patrol.]

A federal investigative agency has released a preliminary report on the July 6th plane crash that killed an 18-year-old student pilot in Oxford, Mississippi.

The organization that was training the pilot, the Civil Air Patrol, said it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the crash.

The NTSB report quotes witnesses who said the pilot sounded “panicked” in communications with the control tower and that the plane made an aborted landing attempt, then rose sharply, turned and crashed onto a golf course.

The report cites a witness who said the pilot had attempted to land with a tailwind — that is, with the wind behind the airplane.

If the witness account is accurate, that’s a serious error because pilots are supposed to fly into the wind while landing to help slow down the airplane, according to Robert Katz, a Dallas flight instructor who frequently reads crash reports and discusses them with news media.

He said the report leads him to believe that the pilot had trouble finding the runway and approached from the wrong direction. He says that and other indicators in the recently released National Transportation Safety Board preliminary crash report suggest the student pilot’s crash, which occurred at the end of a solo flight that took off near Columbus, Mississippi and traveled to Oxford, could have been avoided.

Citing the preliminary nature of the crash report, J.F. Joseph, with Joseph Aviation Consulting, declined to offer a conclusion, though, he did say aviation investigators are likely to learn a great deal when inspecting the downed plane’s systems.

Eighteen-year-old Lake Little of Starkville, Mississippi, had recently graduated from high school and was planning to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. She dreamed of flying for FedEx — the company later sent commemorative wings to her family.

According to the NTSB report, Little had first received a student pilot certificate in August 2017, then received a third-class medical certificate in October 2018. That type of certificate is required for solo flights. At the time of the crash, she had logged 69.4 hours of flight time.

The preliminary investigation found the plane’s flaps appeared to have been retracted. Pilots deploy flaps when approaching a runway, because the flaps help provide more lift at slower speeds, Katz said. If the pilot retracted the flaps after the landing attempt, it would cause the plane to sink suddenly, he said. He believes that’s what happened in this case.

A witness at the golf course described seeing the airplane appearing to be “struggling” to maintain airspeed, with its nose up, and appearing to be very close to stalling, the NTSB report says.

The witness then saw the plane make a left turn and lose altitude. It struck the ground and slid up to nearby trees.

The pilot suffered serious burns in the crash, Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo said in a statement earlier this month.

According to the NTSB report, bystanders and first responders tried to help the young pilot out of the cockpit, but her seatbelt and shoulder harness kept her inside. Then a fire started. Firefighters put it out and rescuers eventually extracted the pilot.

She was airlifted to a Memphis hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Read More

NTSB Aviation Accident Preliminary Report

3 Comments on "Civil Air Patrol Cadet Passes in Fiery Plane Crash"

  1. Avatar Accident Chain | August 7, 2019 at 18:19 | Reply

    This is Civil Air Patrol combining incompetent flight instructors with social media poster children to the continued demise of all three. I am sending you links and statements from Smith and other CAP cult members smiling at her funeral. If you publish this I will work on assembling commentary from other sources into a story for you.

    Lake’s parents [redacted] should be aware of lawsuits that have transpired in the past.

    http://www.auxbeacon.org/district-court-rules-civil-air-patrol-negligent-in-2014-lagrange-airport-crash-12m-judgment/

    Civil Air Patrol always wants the details of the accident and probable cause to come out later in a quiet NTSB report, rather than at the time of death, because the organization takes less of a PR hit with that delayed outing.

  2. This is just like how our idiot senile members (how old was her instructor?) pushed Matthew Shope too far too fast and dressed him up for show. You did a story on his demise, I just want to be sure you connect the two to the idiots running our program.

    http://www.auxbeacon.org/civil-air-patrol-cadet-flight-instructor-dies-in-crash/

  3. Are you allowing comments? I don’t want to write up something and find out later that comments won’t be published.

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