Michael Hayes, 06-24-07
Cessna crash during landing kills student and instructor
WASILLA AIRPORT: Plane belonged to Aero Tech Flight School of Anchorage.
By KATIE PESZNECKER
Published: June 25, 2007
Two people are dead after a plane crashed while trying to land at the Wasilla airport
Sunday afternoon, according to authorities who investigated the wreck.
The names of those who died were not immediately available.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said the single-engine
Cessna 177 Cardinal belongs to Aero Tech Flight School Inc., an aviation instruction
school based at Merrill Field.
"There was a flight instructor and a student (on board), but we don't know who was
at the control when the plane crashed," said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal
Aero Tech did not respond to a message left on its phone.
The crash was reported to the Wasilla Police Department at 12:33 p.m. One of the
people on board was declared dead at the scene. Authorities freed the second occupant,
who was still alive. That person died after being flown by helicopter to a local
hospital, Gregor said.
Wasilla police and Central Mat-Su fire crews were at the scene late into the afternoon,
as were investigators from NTSB and Alaska's Federal Aviation Administration office.
The plane had departed Merrill Field earlier Sunday.
"They ... crashed under unknown circumstances," Gregor said. "They weren't talking
to aircraft control, which is common in good weather."
Dave Hadley, lead meteorologist with the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, said weather
at the airport "was actually pretty decent" around 12:30 p.m.
"They had VFR conditions up there -- visual flight rules," Hadley said. "It means
(cloud) ceilings were greater than 3,000 feet and visibility was greater than 5
miles. And as a matter of fact, the ceiling was ... approximately 7,000 feet. Winds
were calm. And the visibility was 10 miles or greater. So it doesn't appear weather
would have been a factor in this crash."
The plane went down near the southwest end of the small airport's runway, its nose
pointed north in an apparent landing attempt. The collision left the Cessna's wings
mostly intact, and the back of the plane appeared to suffer little damage.
The nose of the Cessna, however, was smashed in, and pushed down and under. Flight
navigation equipment that normally would appear on the plane's dashboard, for instance,
was peeled back and facing outward.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.
Plane crash victims identified as investigation continues
WASILLA: NTSB brings up Cessna officials to examine debris as witnesses are sought.
By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
Published: June 26, 2007
Last Modified: June 26, 2007 at 02:58 AM
Police Monday identified the two victims of Sunday's fatal plane crash at the Wasilla
airport as David Lott of Anchorage and Michael Hayes of Palmer.
Lott, 24, was a flight instructor who moved to Alaska from Florida last summer.
Hayes, a 38-year-old big-game guide, was taking advanced flight school training
to get a commercial license, according to police and air safety investigators.
The two were on a routine training flight when one of them tried to land a small
Cessna plane at the airport Sunday afternoon, according to authorities who investigated
It's unclear who was at the controls, investigators said Monday.
Hayes was a lifelong Alaskan who spent 12 winters crabbing in the Bering Sea, according
to his company's Web site. The company, Far North Safaris, operates big-game hunts
in Southcentral and the Interior.
Lott was married, with a wife in Anchorage, according to the flight school where
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday he doesn't
know yet what caused the crash.
"We don't really have good witnesses," said NTSB air safety investigator Larry Lewis.
"It must have been a really quiet day, because nobody saw it happen at the airport."
The NTSB investigation could last six to nine months if aircraft parts have to be
sent to a lab for analysis, he said.
The single-engine Cessna 177 Cardinal belongs to Aero Tech Flight Services Inc.,
an aviation instruction school based at Merrill Field in Anchorage.
The school's office manager, Matt Smith, said Monday that Lott moved to Alaska last
The crash was reported to the Wasilla Police Department at 12:33 p.m. Sunday. Lott
was declared dead at the scene, but authorities freed Hayes, who was still alive.
They flew Hayes by helicopter to a local hospital, but he later died, investigators
The plane crashed within 100 yards of the southwest end of the small airport's runway,
pointing toward the north in an apparent landing attempt. The collision left the
Cessna's wings mostly intact. The back of the plane appeared to suffer little damage.
"It appears they landed short," NTSB's Lewis said.
The nose of the Cessna was smashed in, and pushed down and under. Flight navigation
equipment that normally would appear on the plane's dashboard was peeled back and
The plane will be taken apart Friday with Cessna officials present, Lewis said.
He said he reviewed Aero Tech's training records and the plane's maintenance logs
He encouraged anyone who may have seen the plane's flight pattern on Sunday to contact
"We've already (asked) the aircraft and engine manufacturers to give us data so
we can see if it was performing properly," he said.
He said the Cardinal is a relatively rare model.
"There weren't a lot of them built," he said.
According to Aero Tech's Web site, the company uses Cessna 177s for instructor training
and at least 19 hours of commercial flight training.