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Published April 09, 2013, 02:16 PM

Pilot who crashed in fog not instrument rated

Duluth pilot Kevin Ferris, who died in a small-plane crash after flying into fog March 29, did not have the instrument rating recommended for the weather conditions forecast for his destination of Moorhead, according to a federal transportation report.

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth pilot Kevin Ferris, who died in a small-plane crash after flying into fog March 29, did not have the instrument rating recommended for the weather conditions forecast for his destination of Moorhead, according to a federal transportation report.

“Instrument meteorological conditions were forecast before the flight originated and were present throughout the day for the destination airport,” the preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board posted on the agency’s website said.

The term “instrument meteorological conditions” refers to weather conditions that require pilots to fly primarily by using instruments rather than visually. According to the report, Ferris was not instrument rated. It was foggy when the Cessna 152 he was flying from Superior to Moorhead crashed in a farm field approximately 18 miles east of Moorhead. An examination of the wreckage found no sign of mechanical problems that would explain the crash.

It could be a year before the NTSB releases its final report on the crash.

Ferris, 48, had a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating and had logged about 63.6 hours of flight time as of his last logged flight on Feb. 24, the report said.

Known in Duluth newspaper ads as “The Rose Man,” Ferris departed Superior’s Richard I. Bong airport for Moorhead Municipal Airport around 9 a.m. to visit family for Easter. Searchers began looking for him after he was reported overdue around 12:30 p.m. Fog hindered the search, and it was several hours before searchers in a plane spotted the wreckage.

According to the NTSB, “The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage (tail assembly).”

The plane’s fuselage was found upright near the end of a 267-foot-long path of wreckage. The plane’s flaps were in the retracted position. The propeller was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited twisting and leading edge damage consistent with what would happen if it was turning under power when it hit the ground.

The path of the wreckage indicates the plane was heading roughly northeast when it crashed.

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