NTSB Report: Airplane 'unstable' prior to crash

- The National Transportation Safety Administration released its preliminary report Wednesday on a plane crash in Eden Prairie, Minnesota that claimed the life of a 77-year-old pilot.

The airplane, an amateur-built Schaffer Fisher Horizon 2 airplane, took off from Flying Cloud Airport around 11 a.m. on Oct. 4. According to the NTSB report, witnesses said the airplane was “unstable” during takeoff and described seeing the plane pitching up and down and banking as it climbed out.

The control tower controller reported the pilot, identified as Philip Schaffer of Richfield, had aborted a previous takeoff attempt just prior to the accident flight.

Schaffer did not file a flight plan before taking off, according to the report.

The airplane crashed around 11:08 a.m. in the parking lot of Resurrection Life Church on Glory Lane near Eden Prairie Road. Witnesses reported the plane was in a steep, nose down, descending spiral and completely between 1.5 to 3 spirals before it went down.

The wreckage path from the first impact to the main wreckage extended several hundred feet. The right wing of the plane was found wrapped around a light pole more than 200 feet from where the plane hit the ground.  The wreckage from the right wing to the end of the wreckage path was mostly destroyed by fire.

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