NTSB Eyes Malfunction in Beech Premier Crash

Pilot of accident airplane reported autopilot trouble.

NTSB investigators have recovered the black box from a Beech Premier I that crashed into a South Bend, Indiana, neighborhood on Sunday, killing both pilots aboard the airplane and injuring three others.

The black box data is being sent back to NTSB headquarters in Washington as investigators continue their examination of the airplane wreckage. Officials said the Premier made two approaches on March 17, followed by an aborted landing attempt, before crashing into three homes. The pilot had reportedly told the tower controller at South Bend Regional Airport he was experiencing some sort of problem.

Four people were aboard the light business jet when it crashed. Both pilots were killed while two passengers sustained non-life-threatening injuries. A woman who was in the house next to the crash site was also injured.

The airplane had been traveling to South Bend from Tulsa, Oklahoma. A report from the Tulsa World newspaper said the Premier pilot needed several attempts to land the airplane two weeks ago on a flight from Memphis to Tulsa due to a malfunctioning autopilot.