Metal fragments found in oil filter of doomed Texas aircraft

Federal investigators say a mechanic found metal particles in an oil filter during maintenance on a small aircraft before it crashed in Central Texas, killing its pilot

KILLEEN, Texas -- A mechanic found metal particles in an oil filter during maintenance on a small aircraft before it crashed in Central Texas, killing its pilot, federal investigators reported Tuesday.

In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board said the mechanic at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport in Temple told the pilot two days before the July 4 crash that the Focke-Wulf Piaggio FWP-149D should not fly until tests could determine the source of the metal particles. The report states the mechanic cleaned the oil filter, sent metal fragment samples to a laboratory for analysis and added clean oil to the engine crankcase.

Meantime, the pilot said he would be flying only to his base at the Skylark Field Airport, just east of Killeen and 20 miles (33 kilometers) southwest of the Temple airport, and the aircraft departed after a satisfactory engine runup.

NTSB said that despite the mechanic’s belief that the aircraft would stay at Skylark Field, it was flying from New Braunfels Regional Airport 95 miles (153 kilometers) back to Skylark Field on July 4 when the pilot reported the aircraft engine had stopped. The aircraft crashed and burned about three miles (five kilometers) short of the Skylark Field runway, killing pilot Bradley Guy Marzari, 60, of Belton.

Ther NTSB said test results on the metal particles were still pending.

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