Public Safety

Dog likely caused plane crash near Monticello in 2017, NTSB says

Authorities have identified the pilot involved in the fatal plane crash that occurred in Monticello on July 1, 2017 as Jerry Naylor, 90, of Scotch Grove. (Photo contributed by Dixie Shady)
Authorities have identified the pilot involved in the fatal plane crash that occurred in Monticello on July 1, 2017 as Jerry Naylor, 90, of Scotch Grove. (Photo contributed by Dixie Shady)
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Nearly two years after a Scotch Grove man was killed in a plane crash, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined the crash was likely caused by the man’s dog, coming in control with the aircraft’s controls during landing.

Jerry Naylor, 90, was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed into a cornfield near the Monticello Regional Airport at 4 p.m. on July 1, 2017. His plane was found about 50 yards away from the airport’s runway, authorities said.

According to the report, Naylor was flying a Flight Design CTSW single-engine light sport airplane with his 70- to 75-pound labradoodle, Jasmine, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the two-seat aircraft.

The man’s son, David Naylor, told investigators “the pilot routinely flew with his dog,” adding that his father “loved to fly with his dog,” according to the report.

The son told investigators that his father “installed a homemade, removable, plywood device to prevent the right-seat passenger (or his dog) from inadvertently contacting the rudder pedals during flight.”

Though an unauthorized alteration, investigators determined the plywood device did not interfere with operation of the plane, the report states.

According to the report, a witness piloting another plane told investigators “he saw (Naylor’s plane) on final approach to the runway.” The witness then lost sight of the plane as he turned his aircraft in preparation for his own final approach. As he approached the runway, the witness told investigators that “he did not see (Naylor’s plane) on the runway or the taxiway,” so he maneuvered his plane in a “go-around” and saw Naylor’s aircraft in a cornfield adjacent to the runway. The dog, according to the witness, was running out of the field away from the crash site.

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Post-accident examination of the aircraft “did not reveal any evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation,” according to the report.

In the National Transportation Safety Board’s final determination, the report concluded the dog likely contacted the aileron or stabilator controls during landing, “which resulted in the pilot’s loss of control and a subsequent aerodynamic stall at a low altitude when the airplane exceeded its critical angle of attack.”

Naylor’s dog suffered minor injuries in the crash, according to the report. David Naylor previously told The Gazette his father had been flying since 1945.

• Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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