Crash’s cause still a mystery

The federal investigator handling the crash of a light plane east of Carson City says at this point, he and others are “looking at everything” to try to figure out what happened.

“We look at the pilot, his experience, health, the machine, the environment, the weather,” said Michael Huhn of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The crash was spotted by a member of the Carson Sheriff’s Aero Squadron on a personal flight Sunday afternoon.

“Right now, we don’t even know when he took off,” Huhn said. “We believe he took off (from Carson City’s airport) the day before.”

The plane, a 1946 Cessna 120 two-seater, sustained major damage to its nose on impact in the Piñon Hills. The engine was forced back into the cockpit area, killing pilot Joseph James Miceli, 59, of Wellington.

Contrary to reports, Huhn said, the plane’s certification had not been revoked.

“It was in the process of getting reregistered,” he said, adding that a delay in reregistering a small plane is not uncommon.

“It’s not anything that warrants attention,” he said.

Miceli’s body was transported to Washoe County for an autopsy to determine what happened and whether he had a physical problem or condition that could have contributed.

Huhn said he is working with the insurance company to recover the plane itself, which he said will most likely involve use of a helicopter to lift it out of the hilly terrain.


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