WASHINGTON TWP., N.J. (CBS) — NTSB investigators say a New Jersey pilot encountered a “leading edge cold front boundary ”moments before crashing into the South Jersey woods last month.
In their preliminary report just released, federal investigators say 75-year-old William Lindley, of Beachwood, New Jersey was flying in his Ryan Navion A, N4976Ke, on the evening on November 19 on a return trip from the Virginia area when he crash in the Bass River State Forest, in New Gretna, New Jersey.
Lindley and his friend flew in separate planes from the Ocean County Airport (MJX) in Toms River to Accomack County Airport (MFV) in Melfa, Virginia for an overnight stay at the friend’s second home.
The following day on November 19, both men flew into Hummell Filed (W75) Saluda, Virginia around 5:30 p.m. for dinner.
Shortly after fueling up, Lindley planned to fly back to Toms River (MJX) and his friend was traveling back to his second residence near MFV.
NTSB investigators say the victim’s friend reported strong wind conditions in Virginia area, even missing his initial approach at MFV.
The friend told federal investigators that he spoke with Lindley and he acknowledged the conditions.
Sometime around 6:30 p.m. the pair communicated again when Lindley reported flying over the Delaware Bay. That’s the last communication they had with each other.
Preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reveals that the accident flight proceeded on a relatively direct course until approximately 6:49 p.m. when the “the flight completed numerous course deviations,” including three complete left circuits and two right circuits, before impacting wooded terrain near New Gretna, New Jersey.
Parts of the plane, including separate wings, were located about 340 feet along the debris path, investigators say.
Lindley held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He did not have an instrument rating, said the NTSB.
Lindley’s most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on May 7, 2015. During that time, he reported a total of 800 flying hours.
The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane Lindley was flying was manufactured in 1949. The airplane was purchased in 1993. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on July 12, 2016. At that time, the airframe had accumulated approximately 3,501 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated about 548 hours since major overhaul.
According to the NTSB, the recorded weather at MJX, at 6:56 p.m. was: wind from 150 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 3 miles in mist; sky clear; temperature 12 degrees C; dew point 12 degrees C, altimeter 29.64 inches Hg.
Lindley crashed 16 miles from the airport.