The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report about the crash of a Cessna plane into Lake Erie last month.
On Dec. 29, a small aircraft went missing over Lake Erie after departing from Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport around 11:00 p.m.
The Cessna 525 Citation plane was flown by John Fleming of Dublin, Ohio. Fleming's wife, Sue, their two sons, Jack and Andrew, and the family's neighbor, Brian Casey, and his daughter, Megan, were also on board the plane. The group was in Cleveland to attend a Cleveland Cavaliers game and was planning to fly in to The Ohio State University.
In retracing the last moments of the flight, the NTSB reports that at 10:56 p.m. the controller subsequently cleared the pilot (Fleming) for takeoff and instructed him to turn right to a heading of 330 degrees and maintain 2,000 feet msl after departure.
Fleming acknowledged the clearance. After takeoff, the controller instructed Fleming to contact departure control; however, no further communications were received from the pilot.
Data shows the airplane entering a right turn shortly after take off. The airplane became established on a magnetic course of 310 degrees at about 10:57 p.m. During this time, the airplane reached an altitude of approximately 2,925 feet msl...almost 1,000 feet higher than the controller had instructed.
About 5 seconds later, the airplane entered a descending right turn that continued until the final data point. The final data point was recorded at 10:57:52 p.m. and was located 1.83 miles northwest of Burke Lakefront Airport.
Crews conducted search and recovery operations from the night of the crash through January 17.
The NTSB report also indicates that Fleming purchased the plane in October 2016. FAA records revealed that he held a private pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land, rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument airplane category/class ratings.
Fleming held CE-510S and CE-525S type ratings. The rating for the CE-525S was added on December 8, 2016, three weeks prior to the crash, after Fleming successfully completed the prescribed FAA practical test (checkride). His initial Cessna 525 training was completed in the accident airplane.
Fleming subsequently completed a simulator-based recurrent training course at FlightSafety International on December 17, 2016.
The cockpit voice recorder was transferred to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for readout.
You can read the NTSB's preliminary report here.