LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The pilot of a small plane that fatally crashed along Feu Follet Road shortly after takeoff from the Lafayette’s Regional Airport became spatially disoriented, a report from the National Transportation Safety Board found.
The crash killed pilot Ian Biggs, 51 and four others after crashing in a field near the Feu Follet Road post office in December, 2019.
Passengers Robert Vaughn Crisp, 59 Carley McCord, 30 Gretchen Vincent, 51 and Michael Walker Vincent, 15 also died on impact.
The surviving passenger, Stephen Wade Berzas, sustained burns on more than 70% of his body.
The report found that the cause of the crash was the pilot’s “loss of airplane control due to spatial disorientation during the initial climb in instrument meteorological conditions,” a conclusion gathered by the airplane’s continuing and tightening turn to the left away from the intended course.
According to the report, the pilot’s most recent training occurred in April, 2019 but was conducted by a pilot whose FAA issued flight certificate was expired.
On impact, the report states, the airplane struck trees and power lines before striking the ground and traveling across a parking lot eventually striking a car.
That car rolled several times and stopped at the edge of the parking lot, the report states.
The airplane was not equipped, and was not required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, the report stated.
Witness interviews, survivor and family interviews and radar data were used in the investigation.