Preliminary Report: MU-2 sheds wings

 - October 10, 2006, 6:23 AM

Mitsubishi MU-2, Bunell, Fla., Aug. 26, 2006–MU-2 N171MA, registered to Drug and Laboratory Disposal of  Plainwell, Mich., was on a flight to Grand Harbor, the Bahamas, departing Battle Creek, Mich., with a fuel stop in Bloomington, Ind.

In Florida, there were reports of thunderstorms in the area and the pilot asked for a deviation. There was too much traffic in the area he wanted to go to, so ATC gave an alternate deviation. At 28,000 feet, the pilot reported that he could not hold altitude. The aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances,” according to the FAA, in a wildlife refuge near Ormond Beach. The pilot and his wife were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. The wings separated from the aircraft and were found half a mile from the accident site.

The NTSB has recovered the two attach points from the left wing and will examine them. It will also investigate the ATC handling of the flight.