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Former Owner: Plane had an excellent history

10:56 PM, Jun 8, 2012   |    comments
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Video: NTSB press conference Friday afternoon

According to FlightAware, the plane (shown above) was enroute from St. Lucie County International Airport to Freeman Field in Junction City, Kansas. (Image courtesy FlightAware.com)

 


 


Polk County, Florida - It may take investigators up to one year to figure out exactly what caused the Pilatus PC-12 to break apart and fall from the sky over Polk County.

Related: Family of six killed in small plane crash

NTSB investigators say the debris field is scattered around a four mile area.

Photos: Deadly plane crash in Lake Wales 

While no one wants to speculate about what happened, the plane's former owner says it was trouble free when it was sold three months ago.

Ronald Bramlage's company purchased the aircraft, according to FAA records. He was piloting the plane at the time of the crash, returning from a trip to the Bahamas with his wife Rebecca, and four children Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.

All six were killed in the crash.

"It's a horrible tragedy. We are really, really upset by this and we hope that we can determine what the cause of the crash was," said Todd Macaluso, the plane's former owner.

Macaluso may be a familiar name. He was one of Casey Anthony's defense attorneys and says used the aircraft to fly Anthony out of Florida when she was released last year.

Macaluso says his company owned and operated the plane for two years.

"The plane did go through an annual inspection before it was sold to those buyers, so it should have had a clean bill of health," Macaluso told 10 News by phone from his home in San Diego, California.

Sheriff Grady Judd says the plane had been repossessed and then sold to Bramlage's company.

In a strange twist, Macaluso also often represents families of aircraft crash victims.

The plane was often used to transport his law firm's team of investigators across the country.

He says he even used it to take his own family on vacation and on relief missions to Haiti after the earthquake.

"It's a wonderful plane, excellent flying quality," he said.

NTSB special investigator Tim Monville says they will be reviewing the pilot's records, along with maintenance, weather and training reports.

Monville says he's also been in touch with the aircraft's manufacturer and the manufacturers of the propeller and engine.

They are trying to find out what caused six feet of the right wing to break off along with parts of the left wing and the horizontal stabilizer.

It is also not known what caused a large "gaping hole" in the side of the fuselage where it's believed the 13-year-old fell out while the plane was in the air.

"They have never seen a structural separation and I want to be very careful to say, and this is the takeaway, we don't know if the structural event is a resultant of some other event that proceeded that," explained Monville.

He says investigators will examine each piece of the aircraft they recover and reconstruct the plane to determine what happened. The process could take 9-12 months.

When asked if the pilot could have controlled the plane after the structural separation, Monville said, "In terms of controllability of the aircraft, there's a question of whether it was even possible."

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