NTSB: Pilot error caused 2022 Carteret County plane crash that killed 8 people

NTSB: Pilot error caused 2022 Carteret County plane crash that killed 8 people

Eight people, including four East Carteret High School students, died in the crash as the group was returning from a duck hunting trip in Hyde County.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WITN) – Federal investigators point to pilot error as the cause of a plane crash nearly two years ago that killed eight people off the Crystal Coast.

The National Transportation Safety Board released today its report on the February 13, 2022 crash that killed all of those on board the Pilatus PC-12/47 plane, headed for the Beaufort airport.

Eight people, including four East Carteret High School students, died in the crash as the group was returning from a duck hunting trip in Hyde County.

The NTSB says pilot Ernest “Teen” Rawls, of Greenville, didn’t adequately conduct preflight planning, had inadequate inflight monitoring of the airplane’s flight parameters, and failed to regain control of the airplane following entry into an inadvertent aerodynamic stall brought about the accident.

The NTSB says the pilot’s likely disorientation in the cockpit following the aerodynamic stall also contributed to the crash.

Killed in the crash were:

  • Ernest “Teen” Rawls, 67, Greenville, pilot
  • Jeffrey Rawls, 28, Greenville
  • Stephanie Fulcher, 42, Sea Level
  • Jonathan “Kole” McInnis, 15, Sea Level
  • Douglas “Hunter” Parks, 45, Sea Level
  • Noah Styron, 15, Cedar Island
  • Michael “Daily” Shepherd, 15, Atlantic
  • Jacob “Jake” Taylor, 16, Atlantic

Stephanie Fulcher & Hunter Parks

Stephanie Fulcher & Hunter Parks

The report also says Rawls was unsure how to spell the “fix”, or the next point on his flight plan, so that he could begin instrument approach to the airport. Rawls “expressed frustration and confusion while attempting to program the integrated flight management system,” the NTSB said.

The report said the pilot became so fixated with those problems that the aircraft’s pitch increased, while its airspeed dropped. This caused the stall warning system to activate and the autopilot disconnect.

“For the final 2 and 1/2 minutes of the flight, the pilot was provided with stall warnings, stick shaker activations, autopilot disconnect warnings, and terrain avoidance warning system alerts,” the report says.

Ernest “Teen” Rawls

Ernest “Teen” Rawls

A year ago, five families of those killed settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million against the owner of the plane and the companies that employed Rawls.

The entire NTSB report can be read below:

Carteret County FAA Report by WITN

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