COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma -- Federal investigators say they cannot determine what caused the engine to quit on a small plane that crashed last May, killing the pilot and his passenger.
Kevin Covell, 44, and his mother, 84-year-old Charlotte Covell, died on May 29, 2010 when their small, homebuilt aircraft went down in a field near the Airman Acres airstrip.
According to the recently released Factual Report from the National Transportation Safety Board, Covell and his mother had just taken off at about 10 a.m. that morning when the engine quit.
A witness told investigators that "the airplane got to an altitude of about 150 feet, 'the engine quit, and it got quiet.' The airplane then made a 'sharp' turn back to the airport, the left wing dropped with the nose of the airplane pointing towards the ground.'"
The aircraft was known as a Vans RV-4, which Covell had built from a kit, and completed on January 23, 1999. The airplane held an experimental airworthiness certificate in the amateur-built category, and had accrued about 330 total aircraft hours, according to the report.
According to the report, the investigator could find no obvious problem with the plane or its engine, other than the damage that was caused by the crash and the subsequent fire. There was water in the carburetor, but the investigator noted that rain had fallen on the wreckage before it could be removed.
The investigator wrote, "A reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined."
The NTSB is still working on the final report on the crash, called the Probable Cause report, which could take months or even years to complete.