NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Roush Crash
Roush suffered severe facial injuries in the crash of his Hawker Beechcraft model 390 (Premier IA) business jet, including a ruptured left eyeball that cost him the sight in that eye, and was hospitalized for more than two weeks. He was released Wednesday and returned to the track Friday for the weekend's races at Michigan International Speedway.
The preliminary report, a brief account of the facts gathered thus far, did not address the "conflict" with another plane that Roush has spoken of. It also did not detail the role or observations of air traffic controllers working the landing other than to note that they have been interviewed and the air traffic control audio tapes have been secured for further review. Normally, it takes the NTSB three or four months to determine a probable cause for an accident.
The NTSB said amateur video of the approach -- video that apparently has not yet become public -- showed that Roush made a "left base turn" on his final approach to the 8,002-foot runway 18R at Oskkosh.
Roush and his passenger, Brenda Strickland, who also received non-life threatening injuries in the crash, had left Willow Run Airport near Ypsilanti, Mich., at 5:29 p.m CDT, 47 minutes before the crash at 6:16 p.m. They were flying to Oshkosh to attend the Experimental Aircraft Association's Airventure 2010 fly-in convention. The weather was clear and Roush was flying under visual flight rules as he was cleared to land.
When Roush made his final turn to the left to line up with the runway, "the airplane appeared to overshoot the runway centerline during this turn and then level its wings momentarily before entering a slight right bank simultaneously as the nose of the airplane pitched up," the report said. "The airplane then turned left toward the runway centerline and began a descent.
"During this descent the airplane's pitch appeared to increase until the airplane entered a right bank and struck the grass area west of the runway in a nose down, right wing low attitude," the report said.
The NTSB said its investigation found no problems with the plane or its twin engines and the wreckage was released back to its owners, Roush Fenway Racing, two days after the crash.
"A cockpit voice recorder was recovered and shipped to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division in Washington D.C. for readout," the report said.
Roush spoke with the media Friday for the first time since the crash after arriving at the Michigan speedway a few minutes before qualifying Friday and heading to pit road to watch time trials.
"I filed my NTSB report today, which is a matter of public record [although not yet released]," Roush said. "It speaks for itself. The reality of it -- on a trip arrival into Oshkosh, Wisc., I was put in conflict with the flight plan of another airplane close to the ground, and I was unable to address the conflict and keep the airplane flying. I ground-looped the airplane. . ."
A ground loop is defined as the rapid rotation of a fixed-wing aircraft on a horizontal plane while on the ground.
In addition to permanently losing the sight in his left eye, "I had a damaged left cheek," Roush said Friday. "I had a broken jaw and I had a compression fracture in my back and I've got a back brace for the compression fracture. "I have hardware in my cheek. I still have packing in my nose because they say its biodegradable and it will come out on its own. I'm still uncomfortable with the fact that I can't breathe clearly through my nose. Everything will come back and I was blessed to have great vision in two eyes and now I've got great vision in one."
This was the second plane crash Roush has survived, and he noted that he also made it through two race car crashes when he was driving cars years ago. He crashed his single-person aircraft in a lake near Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in 2002.
"I feel very lucky," Roush said Friday. "I've had several bites at the apple."