CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the Aug. 15, 2012 crash of a small plane in Clifton Park which took the lives of two local businessmen. The crash killed Walter Uccellini, 67, of Albany and James Quinn, 68, of Westerlo. Both men were executives of The United Group.
While the report did not identify the pilot and passenger by name, age information cited by the NTSB made it clear Quinn was flying the plane at the time of the crash. Both Quinn and Uccellini were licensed pilots.
According to the report, Quinn was the more experienced of the two and “held an airline transport pilot certificate with numerous ratings, including airplane single engine land, as well as a flight instructor certificate with numerous ratings including airplane single engine.” The pilot had accumulated over 11,000 hours of flight experience, including 1,110 hours in the Beechcraft A36TC, the make and model of the plane which crashed, the report said.
Quinn had 143 hours of flight time in the 90 days before the accident, 34 of them in the accident plane, the report said.
The plane took off from Runway 1 at Albany International Airport at 7:24 a.m. on a business flight to Plattsburgh and had reached an altitude of 1,100 feet about a minute later when Quinn radioed air traffic control, reporting a loss of engine power. The Beechcraft slammed into a line of trees and came to rest in the front yard of a home on Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park less than two minutes later, at approximately 7:27 a.m.
Uccellini was killed in the crash. Quinn succumbed to injuries suffered in the accident a little over two weeks later, on Aug. 28.
The NTSB conducted a series of tests on the airplane’s engine at various speeds. “The engine performed normally throughout each of the tests without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption of power,” the report said, although a right side magneto was corroded and inoperative until being cleaned and retested. Upon retesting the magneto performed normally.
The preliminary report indicated the “auxiliary fuel pump switch was found in the HIGH position, though the structure surrounding the switch was deformed consistent with impact.”
A manufacturer’s warning included in the report states the purpose of the high position is “to supply fuel for priming prior to starting and to supply fuel to the engine if the engine-driven fuel pump fails … If high (HI) boost is selected when the engine-driven pump is operating, the engine will run rich and may quit depending on throttle setting, temperature and altitude.”
The NTSB document is known as a “factual report” and makes no conclusions as to the cause of the crash. A full NTSB report on the crash will be issued as soon as the investigation is complete.
The Beechcraft was not equipped with a flight data recorder.