A federal safety investigator said Wednesday that the flight control system of a private Cessna was functional when the plane crashed Monday at Hampton Airfield, killing two Kingston residents.
“We’ve not found any type of pre-impact failure or malfunction of the flight control system,” said Todd Gunther, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Wednesday marked the second day of the NTSB investigation.
The crash shortly before 11 a.m. Monday killed pilot David E. Ingalls, 81, and his passenger, Bruce Anderson, 62. Ingalls was a U.S. Air Force pilot who later piloted commercial aircraft and was highly regarded for his conservation efforts in Kingston. He also was a deacon at First Congregational Church in Kingston.
Anderson owned a Kingston tree service business, took care of the town green and sang in a local group, according to reports.
Rumors about a possible cause of the tragedy have circulated on the Seacoast this week.
Gunther said his team viewed three videos of the crash — one from a witness and two from security cameras at the airfield — and checked fuel samples from the plane and the airfield’s supplier in response to speculation about a fuel problem.
“There’s no evidence of any type of contamination,” he said.
He also said rumors about a possible problem with Ingalls’ seat didn’t appear to have merit.
“The seat was locked in position during the take-off and the climb,” Gunther said.
Ingalls owned the 1956 Cessna 180, according to a registration number provided by the NTSB and online data from an aviation-tracking site. The fixed-wing, single-engine propeller craft plunged into a grove of trees shortly after taking off, rising into a steeply vertical position and then banking sharply.
Gunther said Tuesday that no evidence of engine or structural failure had been found in the plane’s wreckage. He also said the wing flaps, propellers and power systems were functioning normally.
Gunther said the NTSB could release a preliminary report in seven to 10 days, but it could be a year or more before a factual report and statement of probable cause are released.
Wednesday marked the NTSB’s final press update at the airfield, Gunther said, adding that remaining parts of the plane would be taken to a controlled location Thursday for further examination.
North Hampton Fire Chief Dennis Cote has said about 150 people were gathered at the airfield on Route 1 for an annual Labor Day event when the crash occurred.
North Hampton Police Chief Brian Page has said the crash site is on property owned by the nearby Seacoast Harley-Davidson store on Route 1.
Page said no significant property damage or hazard resulted from the crash.
About 30,000 flights take off or land at the airfield every year, Page said.
Hampton Airfield manager Garrett Miller could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Authorities are asking any witnesses who haven’t yet given statements to do so at www.ntsb.gov.