Pilot Says Grace of God Saved Him in Plane Crash — (NBC Washington)

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NBC Washington

Thursday, Aug 9, 2012

A pilot whose plane went down in Maryland last month told News4’s Shomari Stone it was the grace of God that saved him from a brush with death.  The crash killed flight instructor Frank Schmidt, 79. Allen Rothenberg, 83, said the plane lost power right after takeoff from Davis Airport in northern Montgomery County.

Rothenberg was piloting to get a biannual re-certification. He said he regrets decisions he made seconds before the crash that killed his friend.

“It lifted off the runway but we didn’t have any power,” he said. “I tried to turn to the right. Frank tried to grab the controls also, and we crashed. I don’t remember hitting anything else.”

The NTSB is investigating exactly what happened.

Rothenberg has more than 40 years of piloting experience and said he plans to fly again one day.


To view National Transportation Safety Board Accident Report click here

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA458
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 16, 2012 in Laytonsville, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/2013
Aircraft: BEECH A23, registration: N8771M
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

The FAA’s Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the flight instructor. Fluid and tissue specimens from the flight instructor tested negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. However, the toxicological test did test positive for acetaminophen and rosuvastatin in the urine, desmethylsertraline, diphenhydramine, glipizide, and sertraline in the liver, and desmethylsertraline, glipizide, and piolitazone in the blood.

In addition, according to a postmortem clinical report on the flight instructor, 34 (mg/dl ) Glucose was detected in Vitreous, 1150 (mg/dl ) Glucose was detected in Urine, and 8.7 (%) Hemoglobin A1C was detected in Blood.

Sertraline (Zoloft®) is a prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is used as an antidepressant.

Desmethylsertraline is the predominant metabolite of the antidepressant sertraline, Zoloft®. While it is an active metabolite, it is substantially less active than sertraline.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl® or Sominex®) is an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine used to treat allergies and Sominex® is marketed as a nonprescription sleep aid.

Glipizide (Glucotrol®) is an oral blood-glucose-lowering drug of the sulfonylurea class that stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas. The medication is used to treat type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and may cause hypoglycemia.

Pioglitazone (Actos®) is an oral antidiabetic agent that acts primarily by increasing uptake of glucose by peripheral organs and decreasing glucose production by the liver. It is used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Rosuvastatin (Crestor®) is a prescription lipid lowering agent used to treat elevated blood lipids and elevated cholesterol.   According to the FAA, on the flight instructor’s most recent FAA medical certificate application, he did not report using any medication. In addition, he reported that he did not have any type of diabetes.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s failure to ensure that the fuel selector handle was correctly positioned, which resulted in an interruption of fuel to the engine and a loss of engine power during the takeoff, which necessitated a turn away from the trees at the end of the runway and the subsequent stall.