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NTSB blames pilot error, crosswind for fatal plane crash

| Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006

WARREN - Pilot error and a wind gust caused a small plane crash that killed a Western Pennsylvania businessman and severely injured his partner who piloted the aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled.

Malcolm Strachan III, 44, of Penn Township, Butler County, died in the April 2005 crash at the privately owned Warren Airpark in Conewango Township.

Strachan and pilot Duane Burtner, 53, also of Penn Township, were flying to Warren for a business meeting when the plane crashed into trees after it was blown off a runway.

The NTSB found that Burtner did not do enough to take into account a wind gust of about 25 mph as he attempted to abort the landing of the 1976 Cessna 177.

Burtner said that he did the best he could to land the plane under those conditions. The NTSB report was issued Friday.

"Hindsight is always 20-20," Burtner said.

Burtner broke 21 bones in his legs and arms and has been unable to work since the crash.

Burtner and Strachan's business, Industrial Troubleshooters Inc., folded as a result of the crash. The company, established in 1993, specialized in control instruments for chemical and steel plants.

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