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Thu, Apr 10, 2008

UND Aerospace Dean Says Bird Downed PA44

Evidence Of Goose Strike Found

The National Transportation Safety Board's probable cause report for the October 2007 fatal downing of a University of North Dakota plane is still month's away... but the evidence points to a likely bird strike, according to a school official.

As ANN reported, the Piper PA44 Seminole twin crashed in a marshy section of central Minnesota on October 23. Lost in the accident were student Adam Ostapenko, and instructor Annette Klosterman. The two were on a routine VFR cross-country training flight from St. Paul, MN to Grand Forks, ND when the aircraft went down.

UND Aerospace dean Bruce Smith told The Associated Press this week a large dent on the aircraft's left wing, and another on the empennage, suggest the aircraft collided with a sizable bird before the accident. Goose remains were also found on the wreckage, Smith added.

The aircraft had been on flight following, but was out of radar coverage when the accident took place. All communications with the flight prior to the crash were routine, according to the NTSB Preliminary Report, and no deviations in the airplane's flight path were observed. The pilots also did not communicate any difficulties or anomalies prior to the accident.

The Probable Cause report is expected later this year.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.aero.und.edu

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