Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Black lawmaker: I was called 'monkey' at protest to change Confederate street signs


    A black state legislator says he was called a "nigger" and a "monkey" Wednesday by pro-Confederates who want Hollywood to keep three roads named after Confederate generals, including one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Rep. Shevrin Jones.
  2. Senate GOP set to release health-care bill (w/video)


    WASHINGTON -— Senate Republicans on Thursday plan to release a health-care bill that would curtail federal Medicaid funding, repeal taxes on the wealthy and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood as part of an effort to fulfill a years-long promise to undo Barack Obama's signature health-care law.

    From left, Uplift Executive Director Heidi Mansir, of Gardiner, Maine, former West Virginia State Rep. Denise Campbell, Elkins, W. Va., University of Alaska-Anchorage student Moira Pyhala of Soldotna, Alaska, and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson appear before Democratic senators holding a hearing about how the GOP health care bill could hurt rural Americans, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was expected to push for a vote next week on the legislation, which would eliminate much of Obama's 2010 overhaul and leave government with a diminished role in providing coverage and helping people afford it. [Associated Press]
  3. Pasco fire station reopens after hundreds of bats forced crews out

    Human Interest

    Fire crews have returned to a Hudson fire station nearly two weeks after they were forced out by possibly thousands of bats.

    Fire crews returned to Station 39 in Hudson on June 21, 2017, nearly twoo weeks after the building was closed due to a rat infestation. [Times files]
  4. Church of England head says it 'colluded with' sex abuse


    LONDON — The Church of England "colluded" with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one of its former bishops, the head of the church said Thursday.

  5. Looking Back: St. Petersburg does the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau (July 15, 1975)


    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on July 15, 1975. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Weaver Tripp.

    Jacques Cousteau (center), Sen. John T. Ware, R-St. Petersburg (left) and an unidentified man (right) speak to the media about potentially moving the Cousteau Society to the city of St. Petersburg.

TIMES | Weaver Tripp