NTSB: Sleet, lack of speed likely caused 2021 plane crash

BOYNE CITY, Mich. (AP) – Investigators say sleet and lack of speed likely caused a 2021 plane crash in northern Michigan that killed two men.

The Nov. 15, 2021, crash in a wooded area in Charlevoix County’s Melrose Township killed pilot Kenneth Daniel Yott, 61, of Pontiac, and Corbin Dennis Kennedy, 21, of Howell. Kennedy was a student pilot who wanted to become a professional pilot, The Detroit News reported.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation report released Friday said the men flew out of Oakland County International Airport in Pontiac, headed for Boyne City Municipal Airport.

The plane slowed gradually from 129 knots (238.9 nautical kilometers per hour) to 88 knots (162.9 kilometers per hour) as it approached the Boyne City airport, the report said.

The airplane hit the ground after a steep descent, the report said.

Sleet was falling at the time of the crash, witnesses near the crash site told investigators. The pilot likely hit a lake-effect band of heavy sleet during the end of the flight, which caused low visibility, investigators said.

Yott was piloting a Beechcraft King Air at the time. The plane’s manual warned pilots to maintain a minimum speed of 140 knots (259.3 kilometers per hour) during icing conditions to prevent accumulation, investigators said.

Investigators didn’t find any mechanical problems contributing to the crash.

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