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Malfunction, pilot error cited in '06 crash

Firefighters battle flames from a plane crash into a Davis Islands home.

File (2006)

Firefighters battle flames from a plane crash into a Davis Islands home.

TAMPA — Two years after a small aircraft plowed into a Davis Islands home killing the pilot, the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded the crash was caused by mechanical malfunction and pilot error.

In a report released Monday, the agency found that the pilot's in-flight planning and decisionmaking were poor, airspeed was excessive, and proper alignment was not attained for landing.

Pilot Steve Huisman, 41, of Bradenton died in the June 12, 2006, accident, leaving behind a wife and four children. His co-pilot, Sean Launder, now 27, was injured, but recovered and moved out of state.

At the time, the safety board reported that the Beechcraft King Air 90 turboprop crashed soon after Huisman reported a fuel problem.

But, according to the new report, a device that controls the plane's propellers failed to work properly, and Huisman's decisions following the malfunction could have been better.

The pilot could have chosen to go to an air carrier airport slightly further away, thereby reducing the likelihood of overshooting the runway at Peter O. Knight Airport as he did.

The collision into a house owned by Tom and Cynthia Tate ignited a fire that consumed the cockpit, cabin and parts of both wings.

Huisman was flying a mission from Sarasota that required him to release sterilized Mediterranean fruit flies as part of a plan to limit the fly population.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (831) 269-5313 or

Malfunction, pilot error cited in '06 crash 07/01/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:09pm]
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