Report finds that plane ran out of fuel


A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board on a small plane crash in White Marsh two weeks ago supports the pilot's contention that he crashed into a wooded area because the plane ran out of fuel.

The report, released yesterday, found no mechanical problems with the Cessna that crashed June 29. Three people in the plane, including pilot Dale P. Roger, suffered minor injuries.

The NTSB has not reached a final conclusion on the cause of the crash, but the agency's report chronicles the problems Roger had in getting approval from air traffic controllers to land at Martin State Airport.

Roger, 41, told the NTSB that he first requested clearance from the regional air traffic control center in Warrenton, Va., to enter the Washington-Baltimore restricted airspace and land at Martin at 11 a.m. The controller could not locate Roger's flight plan and instructed him to contact the Leesburg, Va., Flight Service Station to file a new flight plan.

Roger made several unsuccessful attempts to get through to Leesburg, then called back the Warrenton air traffic controllers, who told him to hold for clearance.

At noon, he told controllers he was "concerned" about his fuel status, and five minutes later he was cleared to land.

But shortly after, the plane's engine began to lose power and Roger declared an emergency. He attempted to land in a field 3 miles northwest of the airport, but instead hit trees ringing the field.

A final NTSB report is expected in about six months.

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