A fatal plane crash in Gainesville in April 2018 was caused by engine failure, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released this month.
Ernesto Antonio Arteaga-Membreno, 28, of Grayson was the flight instructor aboard the plane that went down on Browns Bridge Road at Waldrip Circle just after 5 p.m. April 28, 2018. He was found dead at the scene.
The plane was registered to a flight school.
Two other occupants, a commercial pilot hoping to add a rating to his certificate and a student who was observing, were seriously injured.
The plane hit a car traveling on Browns Bridge Road, but the two occupants of the car were uninjured.
The plane had departed from the Gwinnett County Airport in Lawrenceville. It flew through the flight school’s practice area over Lake Lanier, then began to return to the Gwinnett airport.
On the way back to Gwinnett, the plane made a loud banging noise, according to the report. Then, engine oil sprayed over the windshield, obstructing the view.
“The flight instructor, seated in the front right seat, took control of the airplane and made two descending 360 (degree) turns over the highway and prepared to land to the west,” according to the report. “The flight instructor also made a distress call to air traffic control.”
Arteaga-Membreno decided to make an emergency landing and opened the cabin door so he could see outside to align the plane with the road, according to the report. The commercial pilot looked out the left-side window.
Witnesses “reported that the airplane's engine was sputtering, leaking fluid, and trailing smoke,” according to the report.
The report notes damage to the engine, including to the cylinders and the crankcase.
See updated story from The Times here.