Cause Of PA-28 Crash Which Claimed Four Lives Still
A medical examiner has told the Associated Press that the
82-year-old pilot of a Piper PA-28 (similar aircraft shown in
file photo) that went down for unknown reasons last year in
Arkansas had no medical conditions which could explain the
accident. The flight, which killed CFI Olin Branstetter, his wife
and co-pilot Paula, Oklahoma State University women's basketball
coach Kurt Budke and Assistant Coach Miranda Serna, may prompt a
reevaluation of the use of small GA aircraft on recruiting
The NTSB preliminary report states that on November 17, 2011,
about 1610 CST, the Piper PA-28-180 hit the ground near Perryville,
Arkansas during Part 91 operations. The flight originated from
Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO), Stillwater, Oklahoma, about 1415
and was destined for North Little Rock Municipal Airport (ORK),
North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Radar data showed the airplane level at 7,000 feet mean sea
level on a southeasterly heading. At 1610:49, the airplane entered
a right turn and began descending, disappearing from radar. There
were no reported ATC communications with the pilot.
Witnesses reported the plane was flying at a low altitude and
making turns. They then observed the airplane enter a steep
nose-low attitude prior to descending toward the terrain.
The AP obtained Branstetter's autopsy report, which it say
indicated the pilot's death was immediate, and that all four
occupants of the plane died as a result of crash injuries, but that
the condition of the remains precluded further analysis. There were
no drugs found in a toxicology report.
The Oklahoman reports the university plans to review its travel
policy. Currently, it states that student-athletes may not travel
in single-engine airplanes while representing the university, but
coaches traveling without students have the option.