RICHMOND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Flying at night can be tricky, and if something goes wrong, the pilot has to know exactly what to do. In this case, what the pilot did will be closely examined.
He reported that he was having a problem climbing and had requested to return back to the airport. A turn at low altitude when you're having trouble is a problem. The NTSB says that is what was going on when the Cessna went down.
"From what we were told, he started a left turn and that is when he crashed. Everybody knows in the aviation world, is when you start to turn back, you start to lose altitude, and you lose some life. And if you don't lower the nose, you're going to lose airspeed to hold that altitude," says Pam Sullivan, NTSB investigator.
Bob Snezek, of Zone Aviation, has been teaching flying lessons for 16 years. He defers to the NTSB for a full report but has some thoughts.
"My professional opinion would be he was having trouble with the engine, tried to make it back, got disoriented a little bit, maybe stalled the airplane, sounds like what he did."
Bob says taking off into darkness can prove disorienting, until you get up into the air and can lower the nose to see the ground.
"We have a hard time making the horizon out, which makes it a lot tougher to keep the wings level," he says.
The NTSB will make the final judgment on the crash after a lengthy investigation, however, it is typical to have preliminary findings in a week.