The National Transportation Safety Board revealed in a report released this week that the pilot who died in a plane crash in Cameron on Feb. 2 had just bought a share in the aircraft, and the other man killed in the crash was his instructor.
According to the NTSB, and first reported by the Associated Press, the cause of the crash has not yet been determined and could take up to a year. The early report said the plane nose-dived into the ground.
The pilot was Richard Don Clements and his instructor was Rock Palermo.
Palermo was an attorney and pilot for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office and Clements was a financial planner.
Funerals for both men were held in the last couple of weeks. Palermo is survived by his wife, Kim, and their three children. Clements is survived by his wife, Nancy, and their two children. Both men were active in the community.
According to the NTSB preliminary report, the Cessna 182 was destroyed when it crashed straight down onto an island northeast of Hackberry in Cameron Parish.
The plane sank 15 feet down into the soft soil, the report said.
According to the report, two of the propeller’s three blades were on the hub at the nose of the plane but the third was not found.
Although the NTSB report gave some details about the circumstances of the flight, it did not indicate what actually caused the crash. Probable causes are usually given in final reports and those can take a year or more to be completed.
Another partial owner of the aircraft told investigators the pilot had just bought a share of the plane and he was accumulating flight hours in order to get rated for complex and high-performance planes, according to the report. That person told investigators he was in the back seat during a training flight one day before the crash, and said the man had done well on flight maneuvers.
The sales broker for the plane told investigators that on the day of the crash, the pilot reported completing a one-hour flight so that he could meet insurance policy requirements.
Records showed that on Feb. 2, the day’s first flight ended about 2:36 p.m. The plane took off again about 5:13 p.m. and crashed about a half-hour later.
Two witnesses, who were not named in the report, told investigators the plane plunged nose-down, without any rotation.