Pilot Indicted in Crash of Cessna Twin

Prosecutors prepare manslaughter case.

A New Hampshire pilot was indicted on Friday on charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the New Year’s Day 2011 crash of a Cessna 310 that killed his daughter.

A grand jury indicted Stephen Fay, 57, for the death of Jessica Malin after it was determined that Fay was piloting his twin-engine Cessna without a multiengine rating when it crashed on a nighttime approach to Runway 19 at Orange Municipal Airport in western Massachusetts.

Malin, 35, was killed because of her father’s “wanton or reckless conduct,” prosecutors have charged. “Mr. Fay was neither licensed nor qualified to fly that twin-engine plane without an instructor on board, and he was repeatedly warned as such, yet he nevertheless chose to fly the plane at night with a passenger on board without his instructor's knowledge or approval,” the lead prosecutor in the case said in a press release.

The crash occurred at 6 p.m., about 90 minutes after sunset. The NTSB preliminary report notes that mechanical failure, weather and operator impairment were not factors in the accident.

The FAA suspended Fay's single-engine pilot certificate in March 2011. Leading to the time of the crash, Fay had been training for his multiengine rating in his 1961 Cessna 310F. According to news reports, an FAA inspector grounded the airplane shortly after Fay purchased it from a salvage yard in Texas in August 2010. There was no word on what repairs or maintenance had been performed after the grounding.

Fay was scheduled to be arraigned at Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on Wednesday. If convicted the charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and an additional to 2½ years in county jail.