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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report About Plane Crash at Katy Community Center


July 27, 2019

By Jennifer Miko

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report from its investigation of the single-engine plane that crashed into a pool maintenance building at the Mason Creek Community Center on July 13.

Security camera footage of the airplane impacting the building. Photo courtesy of the MCCC.

Around 10:30 am on July 13, a Cessna 172S (Skykawk SP) airplane, N517LA, crashed near Kingsland Boulevard and Houghton Road in Katy. The pilot, 69-year-old Noshir Medhora, clipped a pine tree near homes there, before crash landing in the parking lot of the Mason Creek Community Center.

The plane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. Medhora, was the only one onboard the aircraft, and the only fatality from the crash.

"According to records supplied by the operator, the pilot had rented the airplane to conduct a personal flight in the local area," the NTSB report says. "Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed."

The plane was registered to BLH Visions, LLC, and operated by the West Houston Airport (IWS). It was equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B). This satellite-based aircraft monitoring system works with the plane's GPS (global positioning system).

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the ADS-B provides "real-time precision, shared situational awareness, advanced applications for pilots and controllers, and improves safety and efficiency in the air and on runways."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that no air traffic control services were provided to the pilot during the flight.

The NTSB's preliminary review of the ADS-B data and OpsVue track data indicate the plane left at 10:00 am from runway 33 at the West Houston Airport (IWS) to the north and made a left turn to the southwest. The plane traveled southwest over I-10 and continued west.

Near South Fry Road, the NTSB reports, the plane disappeared from the tracking data sources.

On July 14, an NTSB investigator-in-charge, an FAA aviation safety inspector and two air safety investigators from Textron Aviation visited the accident site. They identified the left wing and the outboard right wing in the pool storage maintenance building, which caught fire on impact.

The NTSB reported: "The fuselage, engine, and inboard right wing continued along the north side of the building and impacted a gazebo. The wreckage came to rest partially outside of the small building, on the deck of the main pool, and inside of the main pool. Part of the fuselage, the engine, and the inboard right wing were submerged in the main pool."

View of the recovered wreckage from the main pool. Photo courtesy: NTSB

"During the examination of the airframe onsite, no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures were noted with the airframe," the NTSB reported. Additionally, "A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed no evidence of any uncorrected mechanical discrepancies with the airframe, engine, and propeller."

The wreckage was recovered by the investigators and transported to a secure facility for a further examination of the airframe and engine.

Photo courtesy: Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department

Houston Fire Department’s Heavy Rescue Team was called in to help stabilize the pool maintenance building roof and search for additional victims at the crash site.

Constable Ted Heap, Harris Country Precinct 5, said no one was in the pool at the time of the crash, which was scheduled to open at 11:00am. People were in the nearby clubhouse preparing for a wedding and reported no injuries.

The pilot, Medhora moved to the U.S. from Bombay, India, in 1973. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and worked as a mechanical engineer at Igloo Corp., Mustang Engineering, Bechtel Engineering, Wood and Exxon Mobil Corp. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.

Katy Magazine will provide updates on this story when the NTSB releases more information.

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