We earlier reported about this accident with limited information including weather and some flight path data. The accident, which occurred on March 30, 2024, involved a privately owned TBM 700, N960LP, which took the lives of a married couple who were the only occupants on board. Since that time, the NTSB has issued its preliminary report, which contains more relevant information, including facts that are consistent with low flight into bad weather conditions, but also facts that are inconsistent with that theory and which may even suggest some type of product failure.

While our approach is to never jump to conclusions, we do recognize that more facts, especially in this case, give rise to many more questions.

The NTSB preliminary report reflects that the final descent from approximately 1000 feet above ground, is unexplained. The altitude and aircraft position before the descent appear consistent with a normal approach followed by a missed approach procedure for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 20 instrument approach. The missed approach was likely commenced when the pilot could not see the runway environment in order to make a safe landing. According to the report, it appears that the autopilot and related settings were turned off well before this final descent.

The weather conditions, while relevant to the flight and approach, did not cause the accident, only the missed approach. What is unclear is why, after the aircraft had commenced the proper missed approach procedure, the aircraft slowly then suddenly descended, allowing its airspeed to increase to at least 170 knots at 280 feet above the ground. There was no apparent effort to correct this, which raises the question of whether there was a system malfunction.

With an experienced pilot with 250 hours in N960LP in the prior 16 months, a pilot-rated passenger ā€“ as per the NTSB, and the fact that they were flying their own aircraft into their home airport in daylight hours, this does not appear to be a classic case of controlled flight into terrain, as the final descent suggests otherwise. Of course, more facts are needed, and hopefully will be provided in the wreckage and with the Flight Data Recorder, which apparently had not yet been found.

Aviation Law Group attorneys have handled many accidents related to weather, autopilots, flight into terrain, and defective systems and component parts. For this accident, we have requested more information from the FAA, and we continue to monitor this accident as more facts become available.

Below is the full text of the NTSB Preliminary Report: