NewsCovering Kern County


NTSB: Pilot in fatal Shafter plane crash had missed his 'window to leave'

Plane Crash, Shafter
Posted at 11:01 AM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 14:01:50-05

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — A witness who spoke with the pilot who died in a Nov. 3rd plane crash near Shafter stated that the pilot said "it [fog] had cleared for a few moments and that he had missed his 'window to leave,'" before the plane took off about 20-30 minutes later, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report.

Max Hanner, 62, of Bakersfield was identified as the pilot killed in the crash, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

The report says Hanner tried to Shafter Airport-Minter Field earlier in the morning on Nov. 3rd but the flight was canceled due to overcast conditions.

According to the report, another witness said Hanner had been in and out of the office to use the phone and check the weather. The report says Hanner's last comment to the witness was “ just have to get high enough over the top of the weather to get in the clear.”

The operator says the purpose of the flight was to load the plane with dry seed to disperse at a farm, according to the report.

The plane crashed at about 11:56 p.m near Lerdo Highway and Driver Road near Shafter, just northwest of Minter Field Airport and Museum.

Probable cause won't be determined until after the investigation has concluded which can take between 12-24 months.

Preliminary NTSB Shafter plane crash report