The plane crash that killed a 90-year-old Iowa pilot two years ago was likely caused by the dog sitting in the aircraft’s passenger seat, according to federal authorities.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the wreck that killed Jerry Naylor in Monticello blamed the incident on the “decision to fly with his large dog in the two-seat, light sport airplane, and the dog’s likely contact with the flight controls during landing, which resulted in the pilot’s loss of airplane control.”
Naylor was a commercial pilot on a personal flight at the time of the crash, which inflicted “multiple blunt-force injuries” that resulted in his death, according to the report published April 8.
David Naylor, the pilot’s son, said his father had been flying since 1945, according to The Gazette, a newspaper in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The dog was a labradoodle named Jasmine, The Gazette reports.
A witness in a nearby plane said he watched Naylor’s small plane as it approached for landing on July 1, 2017, and though the witness didn’t see the crash he soon saw the plane in a cornfield near the runway — and watched as the pilot’s dog ran away from the crash site, the report said.
Naylor’s son said he “routinely flew with his dog, who weighed between 70 and 75 lbs,” and had “installed a homemade, removable, plywood device to prevent the right-seat passenger (or his dog) from inadvertently contacting the rudder pedals during flight,” according to the report.
Even though that partition “was not approved to be installed in the airplane, there was no evidence that it interfered with the full movement of either control stick or the pilot-side rudder pedals,” authorities said.
An examination of the aircraft’s engine showed no sign of problems or failures before the crash that would have impacted normal operation, according to the report. That pointed to the dog as likely cause, federal investigators said, suggesting that the animal may have “contacted the aileron and/or stabilator controls during landing, which resulted in the pilot’s loss of airplane control.”