2005 Crash Blamed on Pilot Error

Mar. 29 -- A federal report issued this week concluded that pilot error was to blame for a 2005 crash near Bellefonte that killed six people.

The report from the National Transportation Safety Board issued Monday found that pilot Jeffrey Jacober failed to maintain a sufficient airspeed to prevent a fatal stall en route to University Park Airport on March 26, 2005. Without sufficient airspeed to maintain lift, the plane plummeted out of the sky, the NTSB found.

Also in the report, investigators said they found that Jacober did not properly set his instruments for the instrument-landing-system approach to the runway. Without the proper settings, the autopilot could not lock on to the airport's ILS, the NTSB found.

"A review of radar data disclosed that the private pilot had difficulty maintaining altitude and airspeed while on final approach, with significant excursions above and below the glidepath, as well as large variations in airspeed," the NTSB report states.

The 1999 Pilatus PC-12/45, which can carry eight passengers, was en route from Naples, Fla., to University Park Airport when it crashed near the Centre County Correctional Facility, about three miles short of the airport. Witnesses told investigators the plane's "right wing was up and then it went nose down to the ground after doing a counterclockwise spin," according to the NTSB.

"Witnesses reported seeing it spinning in a nose down, near vertical attitude before it collided with the ground," the NTSB report states.

Killed in the crash were the 51-year old pilot, his wife, Karen, 49, and their 15-year-old son, Eric, and Gregg Weingeroff, 49, his wife, Dawn, and their 10-year-old son, Leland.

The two families had been vacationing together and were stopping at University Park to watch their son, Michael Jacober, play in a Penn State men's lacrosse game before returning home to Providence, R.I.

According to the report, the sky was overcast, it was about 40 degrees, and an ice advisory was issued. However, the NTSB did not find ice to be a factor in the crash.

The pilot said nothing to air traffic controllers to indicate trouble just prior to the crash.

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