FAA: Pilot properly
defend the safety record of the plane model and suspect
that more than just engine trouble was involved in the
accident near Centennial Airport.
Paul Krysiak, the pilot of a twin-engine aircraft
that plunged nose-first into a suburban Denver parking
lot Friday night, was properly trained and certified to
fly the airplane, federal aviation officials said
"We went through all his records, and everything was
fine," said Robert Dixon, FAA operations inspector.
Carrie Krysiak, herself a pilot, described her
husband as a smart, funny man who had a passion for
flying. "He would have flown for free. ... That's how
much he loved it," she said. Krysiak declined to discuss
the accident, which killed her husband, 28, and another
pilot, James Presba, 25.
Investigators do not yet know whether pilot error
played a role in the cargo plane's crash but said they
suspect something more than the engine trouble Krysiak
reported one minute after takeoff.
"That airplane could fly all day on one engine," said
Aaron Sauer, National Transportation Safety Board air
What is known is that shortly after takeoff, Krysiak
chose to return to Englewood's Centennial Airport and
banked left instead of right, as air traffic controllers
instructed. A witness then reported seeing the plane
fall nose-first into the First Data Corp. parking lot.
Greg Feith, former senior NTSB investigator, said
Krysiak probably disobeyed the control tower because he
did not want to turn in the direction of the aircraft's
dead engine, a maneuver that could have thrown the plane
into an uncontrollable spin.
Federal investigators have not yet reported which
engine failed or was shut down.
The NTSB on Sunday hauled the crumpled wreck to a
special facility in Greeley where crash investigators
will continue to search for clues. It could be a couple
of weeks before they have a clear indication of what
went wrong. And it could take six months to a year
before a final report is issued, Feith said.
The type of plane Krysiak and Presba were flying has
come under scrutiny.
The Mitsubishi MU-2's reputation for difficult
handling at low altitudes and slow speeds has earned the
plane such nicknames as the "Widow Maker," "Hiroshima
Screamer," "Rice Rocket" and "Kill You-2," as named on
websites for pilots.
The planes are no longer used for passenger travel
because of the high cost of insurance, according to
Robert Cadwalader, a longtime pilot who's spent hours
analyzing aircraft accident records.
Various models of the MU-2 have been involved in 180 accidents
during the past 36 years, resulting in more than 200 fatalities,
according to NTSB records.
In the past two decades, eight MU-2B planes have crashed
in Colorado, the nation's second- highest number of reported
accidents after Texas, according to NTSB.
Two of the Colorado accidents were fatal, causing a
total of 12 deaths.
In September 1982, an MU-2B-25, a slightly different
aircraft model than the one piloted by Krysiak, took off
from Yampa Valley Airport in Hayden, climbed about 400
feet, banked left and suddenly entered what witnesses
described as a roll. The plane "crashed and burned,"
according to the NTSB.
All five passengers and the pilot were killed. The
cause: A misaligned turbine bearing in the left engine.
Sauer insisted Sunday that the MU-2 is no more unsafe
than any other aircraft of its type. He said he did not
agree with pilots who questioned its integrity.
"It is not considered an unsafe aircraft," he said.
"There are 400 out there flying that have not been
involved in accidents."
Feith, now a private aviation safety consultant,
agreed. He said the MU-2 may take a little more skill to
handle, but he said that overall, "It's not any worse
than any other airplane."
"The MU-2 by its very nature requires a little more
vigilance," Feith said. "But there are a lot of guys
that love that airplane."
Staff writer Marsha Austin can be reached at