Hendrick Motorsports crash attributed to flight crew error

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

RICHMOND, Va. -- Flight crew errors probably caused a 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people with ties to one of NASCAR's top racing families, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

The crew improperly read instruments and missed a landing approach to Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville, Va., the NTSB said in a report synopsis e-mailed to The Associated Press. The Beech King Air 200 crashed into fog-shrouded Bull Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians on Oct. 24, 2004.

The crash killed the son, brother and two nieces of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.

"Contributing to the cause of the accident was the flight crew's failure to use all available navigational aids to confirm and monitor the airplane's position during the approach," NTSB said.

NTSB investigators said that the crew did not follow proper procedure in executing its approach to the airport and their actions following the missed approach.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said said there was no indication of faulty instruments.

The final NTSB report will not be published for another three to four weeks.

Hendrick did not join the flight from Concord, N.C., to a race at Martinsville Speedway because he wasn't feeling well.

Killed in the crash were: Ricky Hendrick, 24, Rick Hendrick's son; John Hendrick, Rick Hendrick's brother and president of Hendrick Motorsports; Kimberly and Jennifer Hendrick, John Hendrick's 22-year-old twin daughters; Joe Jackson, an executive with DuPont; Jeff Turner, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports; Randy Dorton, 50, the team's chief engine builder; Scott Lathram, 38, a pilot for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart; and pilots Richard Tracy, 51, of Charlotte, N.C., and Elizabeth Morrison, 31.

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