GREENVILLE, Maine – A Canadian pilot reported losing power to his twin-engine plane crashed in Maine, killing him, his wife and his daughter, officials said Tuesday.
The Piper Aerostar carrying Joseph and Anita Robertson, both 58, and their daughter, Laura Robertson, 24, crashed about an hour and 45 minutes after takeoff Monday from Pembroke, Ontario, on a flight to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the officials said.
The pilot reported losing power before trying to land at the municipal airport in Greenville, the National Transportation Safety Board reported.
There is no definite answer about the cause of the crash. The unit will be pulled Tuesday at a secure location for further examination, the researchers said.
The Aerostar driven by Joseph Robertson, is a streamlined aircraft powered by a pair of Lycoming piston engines that was produced from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.
It has a reputation as a difficult plane to handle if there is a stall, and there are a number of the landing approach crashes over the years, said Mike Slack, an aviation lawyer in Austin, Texas, who is not involved in the research. “It is safe to call this a challenging aircraft, especially in a low-speed stall situation,” he said.
Joseph Robertson was a meticulous pilot who had owned the plane for about a year and traveled to the United States to learn from an instructor familiar with the aircraft, making 168 takeoffs and landings, said Carman Adair, a business partner with Robertson and a friend of the family.
Robertson kept his head cool in the plane, and once treated with a landing gear problem by pulling out a manual and go through the checklist, Adair said.
“He is the smartest of the smart, and the most cautious and careful guy. If you are going to get a plane with everyone, you would want it to be Joe,” he said.
The Robertsons were prominent in their community, the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The couple was active in the United Way and has large financial contributions to a performing arts center; Joseph Robertson also served on the board of Brock University, friends said. The couple had two adult sons live in Toronto, Adair said.
The NTSB is going to be on scene for three to four days as it explores with the federal aviation officials and the manufacturer of the engine Lycoming Engines.
This story has been corrected to refer to Robertson, not Roberts, in the 10th paragraph.