WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTAL/KMSS) – The National Transportation and Safety Board on Friday released its preliminary report on the December small plane crash that claimed the lives of two Bossier teens.
Both the pilot, 18-year-old Jet Montgomery and his passenger, 19-year-old Jon Cole Harris, both graduates of Airline High School, died when the Piper-PA-28-180 airplane Montgomery was flying crashed in a wooded area on Barksdale Air Force Base’s east reservation in the early morning hours of Dec. 16.
Although the preliminary report falls short of assigning responsibility for the crash, it does state Montgomery, who was certified in June 2020, was issued his local traffic pattern solo endorsement on Nov. 21, less than a month before the crash and was flying against restrictions on that license.
Montgomery’s solo endorsement did not include the right to carry passengers, which his most recent flight instructor (a Certified Flight Instructor or DFI) told NTSB investigators said he explained to Montgomery.
When Montgomery received his solo endorsement, it was issued with the stipulation that Montgomery not to fly without first calling him to discuss weather and NOTAMs (“Notice To Airmen” that contains any new information in regard to breaking conditions, hazards, etc.)
The CFI said Montgomery did not contact him prior to the flight.
According to security video and records at Shreveport’s Downtown Airport, airport pilot-controlled lighting kicked in at 4:12 a.m. Dec. 16, and the plane took off five minutes later from Runway 14. One minute later, radar began tracking the airplane, which, according to the report, flew an irregular path to the east, ending up maneuvering over BAFB for around 20 minutes.
Shreveport Air Traffic control contacted the air traffic controller at BAD (Barksdale AFB) Tower and tower (BAD Tower) and gave the heads up that there was an aircraft flying between 500’ and 1000’ feet near the base.
The BAD controller told investigators he turned up BAFB’s runway lights to full brightness and tried to contact the airplane, but didn’t receive an answer.
Radar data indicated the airplane’s altitude varied between about 600 and 1800 feet during the flight, and showed the airplane banking left and descending, before the radar data ended at 4:49 a.m.
Almost immediately after the radar went cold, BAFB personnel and Bossier Parish Sheriff’s deputies launched a search for the aircraft, and just before 8:30 a.m. found the wreckage and the remains of Montgomery and Harris.
According to the NTSB preliminary report, the airplane’s left wing was separated, the right wing was partially separated and there was crushing and deformation of the fuselage forward of the tail section.
The NTSB’s final report on the crash will be released in from one-to-three years and at that time will assign error.