The plane crash that killed a Gwinnett County flight instructor in Forsyth County last year was due to partial engine failure that resulted in the plane’s windshield being covered in oil, federal officials determined.
The single-engine prop plane crash near Browns Bridge Road and Waldrip Circle killed Ernesto Antonio Arteaga-Membreno, 28, of Grayson, AJC.com previously reported. The April 28, 2018, crash also injured the two student pilots who were on board, Litsu Chen, 30, of Lawrenceville, and Shen Yang Wu, 25, of Duluth.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its accident report earlier this month, concluding that Arteaga-Membreno was attempting to make an emergency landing after the engine failed.
Chen was initially flying the Piper PA-28R-200 toward Gwinnett County’s airport about 5 p.m. when there was “a loud bang from the engine,” leading to engine oil spraying “over the entire windscreen,” the report said. The engine was still producing some power but not enough for the plane to maintain altitude.
Arteaga-Membreno took control of the plane and performed two full 360-degree turns while descending, the report said. He made a distress call to air traffic control and opened the cabin door so he could try to see outside the cockpit.
The plane crashed into the rear of a car on Browns Bridge Road before ending up in a ditch, the reports said. Neither of the people in the car were injured.
Arteaga-Membreno died due to “blunt force trauma of the head and neck,” according to his autopsy. He was a part-time instructor for The Flight School of Gwinnett, operations director Gary Stone confirmed after the incident.
“We consider ourselves a family, and we've lost one of the members of our family,” Stone told Channel 2 Action News. “That's kind of tough.”
Arteaga-Membreno was also a mechanic for Delta Air Lines who moved from California the year prior.
“He wanted to do some flying and continue teaching, so we hired him,” Stone said. “And he also was a mechanic, so he knew a lot about aircraft.”
To read the full NTSB report, click here.
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