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NTSB confirms inflight breakup of Pilatus in Florida crash


The pilot of a Pilatus PC-12 that crashed in central Florida on June 7 discussed deviating around a cell of extreme precipitation with an air traffic controller in the minutes before the plane crashed in a swamp. The controller told the pilot about precipitation ahead of the flight and suggested a deviation around the storm cell. The pilot agreed, and read back instructions to deviate north-northwest around the storm. But radar tracks indicate that the plane immediately entered a spiraling right turn, losing almost 15,000 feet of altitude in one minute. The National Transportation Safety Board did not indicate in its preliminary report if the aircraft entered the area of precipitation during that maneuver. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the plane in a spin before it crashed, and one noted that parts of the plane appeared to be missing. The NTSB found that the Pilatus’ horizontal stabilizer, elevator and parts of both wings separated from the aircraft before it hit the ground. The pilot, a well known Kansas businessman, as well as his wife and two children, were all killed in the crash.