Pilot Indicted On Plane Crash That Killed His Daughter


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Pilot Indicted On Plane Crash That Killed His Daughter

By Mike Mitchell

January 30, 2012 - Massachusetts Franklin County grand jury has indicted Steven Fay, 57, of Hillsborough, N.H a pilot who crashed his plane killing his daughter Jessica Malin, 35, also of Hillsborough last year. 

The grand jury handed down a one count indictment of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 1, 2011, plane crash Fay, who was piloting the Cessna 310 is accused of "unintentionally and unlawfully" causing death of his daughter by means of "wanton or reckless conduct." 

Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said "Fay was neither licensed nor qualified to fly that twin-engine plane without an instructor on board, and he was repeatedly warned as such, yet he nevertheless chose to fly the plane at night with a passenger on board without his instructor's knowledge or approval."

Gagne further sated "his conduct unfortunately resulted in the tragic death of his own daughter, but it also endangered anyone who happened to be in his flight path, particularly those who live in the residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Orange Airport."

On January 1, 2011, about 6 PM a Cessna 310F, N6725X, registered to and operated by Steven Fay crashed in a wooded area adjacent to the Orange Municipal Airport (ORE), Orange, Massachusetts, during a visual approach to runway 19. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The Fay received minor injuries and his passenger, Jessica Malin was killed. The flight departed from Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN), Keene, New Hampshire, earlier that day, about 4:30 PM. 

A Massachusetts State Police representative (MSPR) stated that there were no eye witnesses to the accident. Residents near the airport, along the approach path to runway 19, reported hearing the airplane and noted from its sound that it was flying low compared to what they were accustom to. Moments later they heard the crash. One witness ran toward the area where a person (the pilot) was yelling the passenger?s name, the pilot instructed the witness to call 911. 


The Fay stated to the MSPR that he became a pilot in 1989 and has about five hundred hours of flight experience. For a period of 6 to 7 years he stopped flying and resumed about a year ago with an instructor. Fay purchased the Cessna 310 around May of 2010. About 4:30 PM he and his daughter departed from EEN and flew over Franklin County where Fay is originally from. He had decided to practice a ?touch and go? landing at ORE before returning to EEN; Fay mentioned he had flown to ORE previously.  

When Fay approached the airport there was less ambient light than he?d anticipated and there was a ?haze? in the air; he also found the airplane to lose altitude faster than his previous airplane. He recalled seeing white and red lights off to the left near the runway, believing there were a visual slope indicator. Fay was uncertain of what arrangements indicate a proper glide path onto the runway. As the airplane approached the runway, the lights started to flicker, at which time he applied full engine power. Fay was unaware of the tree until after the crash and he was on the ground. Fay reported no mechanical issues with the airplane prior to the accident. 

The Fay, at the time held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single engine land. He did not hold a multiengine rating. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate on September 10, 2010, with limitations that he must wear correcting lenses for distant and possess glasses for near vision.  

Fay had documented 500 total hours at that time. A review of the pilot?s flight logbook by FAA showed that Fay had about 50 hours of multi-engine instructional time. There was no multi-engine solo endorsement. The last entry for night time flight was in 2000. The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Fay?s single-engine pilot?s license in March 2011.

District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said Fey "created a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another, in that he did operate a Cessna fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft without sufficient training, experience, expertise, licensure, qualifications and/or supervision, and in violation of various rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration." Fay, will be arraigned February 1 at 2 p.m. in Franklin Superior Court.

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