Preliminary FAA Report Describes Fatal Western Massachusetts Plane Crash as Accident, Names Victims

GREENFIELD, Mass. – A preliminary report from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the fatal plane crash in western Massachusetts was released this week. The crash, which claimed the lives of three people, remains under investigation. According to the report, the crash is described as an accident, although the cause is still unknown.

The small plane, identified as a Beechcraft 55 Baron Twin-Piston, took off from Barnes Airport in Westfield and appeared to be heading for a crash just 24 minutes later. The aircraft was found over an hour later in a wooded clearing within the Leyden Wildlife Management Area, near the Greenfield-Leyden town line.

The three victims have been identified as 68-year-old William Hampton, 29-year-old Chad Davidson, and 53-year-old Frederika Ballard. Ballard, the owner of the Fly Lugu Flight School in Westfield, and Hampton, a flight instructor for the same company, were on board the plane, along with Davidson, who was a student pilot.

Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA are conducting an investigation to determine the circumstances of the crash near the Leyden Wildlife Management Area. An NTSB investigator was scheduled to visit the crash site to collect information and records on flight track data, air traffic control communications, aircraft maintenance, and more.

The NTSB’s final report is expected to be released in 12 to 24 months. Meanwhile, anyone who witnessed the crash or has information that could aid the investigation is urged to contact the NTSB at the provided email address. The investigation is ongoing, and the NTSB will continue to look into the pilot, the aircraft, and the operating environment to determine the cause of the tragic accident.