Poor Maintenance, Pilot Error Cited in Fatal New Hampshire Plane Crash

June 14, 2024

Improper maintenance and the pilot’s failure to abort takeoff likely caused a small plane to crash into a building in New Hampshire in 2022, killing both people on board and sparking a fire, the National Transportation Safety Board said in its final report.

The single-engine Beechcraft Sierra crashed into a two-story barn connected to a multifamily apartment building north of the Keene Dillant-Hopkins Airport the night of Oct. 21, 2022. All eight people evacuated the building and were not injured.

Killed in the crash shortly after takeoff were Lawrence Marchiony, 41, of Baldwinville, Massachusetts, and Marvin David Dezendorf, 60, of Townshend, Vermont.

The plane had last flown about 14 months earlier with both men in the cockpit. They had experienced “poor takeoff and climb performance during a flight,” the NTSB said in its report, dated May 30.

In the 2022 flight, witnesses reported that as the plane accelerated on the runway, “the engine did not sound normal” and the “poor” sound continued once it was airborne.

An examination of the plane showed improper maintenance of the fuel injector nozzles, the NTSB said. The nozzles were missing inserts or restrictors and showed extensive leakage, the report said.

A mechanic had reported that the nozzles had been cleaned as part of the plane’s annual inspection.

“It is likely that at some point after removing the inserts or restrictors for cleaning, they were not reinstalled,” the report said.

Contributing to the crash was a mechanic’s decision to return the airplane to service with the engine unable to attain its full power, the report said. An analysis indicated that as the plane became airborne and immediately before impact, the engine was operating at about 11% less than maximum power and likely significantly less at the start of takeoff, the NTSB said.

The agency said the mechanic “likely incorrectly identified” the maximum power during a post-maintenance engine run.

Marchiony and Dezendorf likely did not recognize that the engine wasn’t at full power as the plane was accelerating. But both “should have recognized that the ground run was excessive and aborted the takeoff while still on the runway,” the report said.