Maintenance error blamed for fatal Michigan plane crash | Michigan News

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) – Federal investigators have determined that a misplaced air filter screen likely caused the engine of a small plane to fail and crash in southeast Michigan, which killed a pilot from Delta Airlines and an aircraft mechanic two years ago.

The improperly installed metal intake screen allowed the filter element to shift and block air in the engine, according to the National Transportation Safety Board report.

With the air inlet blocked, the Aero Commander 200 single-engine aircraft lost all power and crashed shortly after takeoff from Spencer J. Hardy Airport in Livingston County, near Howell, at approximately 70 miles northwest of Detroit, The Detroit News reported.

Those killed in the August 2019 crash were driver Phillip Colmer, 64, of Chelsea, and James Tafralian, 68, of Webberville. The NTSB report dated September 16 said they were on a “maintenance check flight” after installing an overhauled engine and three-bladed propeller.

Colmer was a Delta Airlines pilot with a distinguished naval career and a leading contributor to Project Recover, which sends volunteers to remote areas to recover the remains of American airmen lost in the war. Tafralian was a well-known aircraft mechanic in the skydiving community.

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