Plane crash report issued

EDINBURG – The plane involved in a fatal crash near the Great Sacandaga Lake in September still had a connection between its controls and the elevator and rudder at the time of the crash, according to a report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Timothy Cowper, the pilot killed in the crash, held an experimental aircraft builder certificate and was the registered builder of the Pitts Special S-1E that was involved in the crash. The report confirms the plane was built by an amateur.

According to the report, around 3:55 p.m. on Sept. 29, witnesses reported the pilot turned back toward the town’s Plateau Sky Ranch Airport shortly after takeoff. The plane banked steadily before flying behind a treeline.

The report said eyewitnesses heard the engine grow louder before impact.

The plane crashed in the woods southwest of the airport, the report said.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage, the report said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said fire destroyed much of the wreckage, but they were able to determine the plane’s connections between controls and the elevator and rudder.

But because of the fire damage, they could not determine if the ailerons – which allow the plane to bank – were under control, the report said.

Ralph Hicks, a investigator with the NTSB, said the wings were completely destroyed in the fire.

“There is nothing left to look at,” said Hicks. “It is not unusual for us to lose parts of the wreckage due to fire.”

Hicks said the NTSB will continue investigating the wreckage.

Hicks said an autopsy and toxicology report on Cowper is expected in the future.

The plane crashed near the northern side of the Great Sacandaga Lake, north of the Batchellerville Bridge. State Police, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department, the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department and emergency medical services responded to the scene and found a badly damaged small plane and Cowper’s body in the wreckage, authorities said.

Cowper was an experienced pilot, authorities said.

Hicks said a full report is expected sometime next year.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached at [email protected].

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