The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on the Feb. 20 crash of a twin-engine plane in Coleman County that killed three people, including Chase Hunter Bellah, 31, of Brownwood.
Bella was the pilot of the Beechcraft B200 Super King Air.
According to the transportation board’s preliminary report:
On Feb. 20, 2020, about 6 a.m. central standard time, a Beechcraft, B200 airplane, N860J, impacted terrain near Lake Coleman, Texas, in open ranch land. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed.
The airplane was registered to TLC Air, LLC and operated by Lauren Engineers & Constructors, Inc. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a cross-country flight.
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight.
The flight originated from Abilene Regional Airport and was en route to the Valley International Airport in Harlingen.
A preliminary review of air traffic control communications with the pilot revealed the airplane was cleared for takeoff and the pilot was instructed to climb to 12,000 feet and was then cleared to climb to 23,000 feet.
The pilot reported to the controller that they encountered freezing drizzle and light rime icing on the climb from 6,400 ft to 8,000 ft.
As the airplane climbed through 11,600 ft, the pilot reported that they were having an issue with faulty deicing equipment and needed to return to the airport. The controller instructed the pilot to descend to 11,000 feet and cleared them to Abilene. The flight was then instructed to descend to 7,000 feet and asked if there was an emergency. The pilot responded in the negative and stated that they blew a breaker when they encountered icing conditions, and that it was not resetting.
The controller then instructed the pilot to descend to 5,000 feet Shortly afterwards the controller asked the pilot if they were turning to the assigned heading; the pilot responded that they were having issues with faulty instruments.
When the controller asked the aircraft to report their altitude, the pilot reported that they were at 4,700 ft. The controller then instructed the pilot to maintain 5,000 ft. The pilot responded he was “pulling up.” There was no further communication with the pilot.
The airplane impacted terrain in a right wing low attitude.