Preliminary report issued in fatal small-plane crash

Associated PressAugust 16, 2012 

FAIRBANKS -- A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says an Australian pilot who died with his wife in a crash last month north of Fairbanks was in flight conditions above his qualification.

Stephen Knight, 64, and his wife, Gillian, 60, died July 18 about 43 miles north of Fairbanks.

NTSB air safety investigator Chris Shaver says in the report that the Knights left Fort Yukon using visual flight rules.

The report says Stephen Knight just after 4:30 p.m. asked an air traffic controller in Anchorage for instrument clearance to Fairbanks even though he was not rated for instrument flying.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the air traffic controller told Knight to climb to 7,000 feet but lost radio and radar contact with the rented six-seat Piper Saratoga five minutes later.

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