NTSB: Mechanical failure unlikely factor in Kansas crash

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Update: Federal investigators say mechanical failure likely didn't play a role in a plane crash that killed a pilot and flight instructor near an airport in Topeka, Kansas.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the National Transportation Safety Board says in a preliminary report that investigators found "no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation" of the 1965 Piper PA-30 before it went down July 31 near Philip Billard Municipal Airport.

The crash killed 61-year-old pilot William Leeds of Topeka and 55-year-old flight instructor James Bergman of Leawood.

The newspaper reports that Leeds was an experienced pilot who was working on a new multi-engine land airplane rating for his pilot certificate, and that the crash happened during a practice flight a day before his scheduled examination.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Two people are dead after a small plane crash near Billard Airport in Topeka.

Topeka station WIBW reports the plane went down about 8:30 p.m. Monday in a field near the airport. The Kansas Highway Patrol is leading the investigation.

The head of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority tells WIBW Topeka Police, Topeka Fire, the KHP and MTAA police and fire were among the agencies responding to the crash.

WIBW reports the aircraft was a 1965 Piper PA-30 twin-engine plane, registered to someone in Mission, Kansas.

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UPDATE 8/1/2017 4:43 a.m.

The victims are identified as 76-year old William Leeds of Mission, Kansas, and 55-year old James Bergman of Leawood.

KHP says Bergman was the co-pilot of the aircraft. The plane was traveling southeast to northwest, and appeared to miss the runway, striking the ground at a high rate of speed.

The plan impacted and turned about 180 degrees, where it came to rest in a grass field in between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal.