Preliminary Accident Reports

January 2001 Issue

Oct. 2, Rapid City, S.D. / Piper Seminole

At 19:33 mountain time, the pilot of a Piper PA-44-180 operated by the University of North Dakota apparently committed suicide by crashing the airplane into runway 32 at Rapid City Regional Airport. The pilot was alone in the airplane. The aircraft had been conducting touch-and-goes when the pilot asked the tower controller to make a phone call and said, “Tell my family and friends that I love them very much.” The pilot then advised the controller to roll the equipment. The controller asked if he was declaring an emergency. The pilot responded with an expletive, then the airplane abruptly pitched up, climbed to about 1,000 feet agl, then crashed nose-down onto the runway....

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