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Long Beach Plane Crash Might Be Linked to Poor Maintenance

New evidence suggests that last year's Long Beach plane crash may have been due to improper plane maintenance. National Transportation Safety Board records indicate that the plane was 653 pounds overweight and that the pilot may have failed to empty the water from plane's fuel tank sumps.

The Los Angeles Times reports that several prominent Long Beach community members and businessmen were killed in the crash including real estate investors and a member of one of the city's founding families.

Investigators spoke to the maintenance director of the aviation company that serviced the plane. The director said that he believes that the plane's fuel tanks had not been drained regularly since the owner of the plane bought it.

Pilots typically drain sump tanks before every flight. When a pilot fails to drain the water from the plane, water can shoot into the engines and temporary short them out. It appears that the two loud pops heard shortly after the plane took off may be due to the fact that the engines were killed by water.

The plane pulled up shortly before it crashed, which indicates that the engines may have reignited, but too lake to avoid the crash. NTSB officials also noted that the plane was overweight at the time of the crash but it is unclear what role this played in the crash.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Plane in deadly Long Beach crash was overweight, records show," May 31, 2012

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