Plane in Henderson crash failed to gain altitude |

Plane in Henderson crash failed to gain altitude

HENDERSON (AP) – A small airplane that crashed on a residential street earlier this month, killing the pilot and badly injuring three passengers, had difficulty gaining altitude just before the collision, a preliminary report by federal investigators said.

The National Transportation Safety Board report said the seven-seat Piper Cherokee never got more than 200 feet off the ground after taking off from Henderson Executive Airport on Sept. 6.

Witnesses said the plane’s landing gear and flaps were retracted and the engine sounded like it was “straining to keep the airplane airborne,” according to the report, obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Pilot Douglas Touchet, 50, was killed and his three passengers were seriously injured. All four people were from southwest Louisiana and flying home after a weekend trip to Las Vegas.

No one on the ground was hurt.

The NTSB report says shortly after takeoff from the Henderson airport, Touchet radioed a controller that he was having trouble gaining altitude and he had to return to the airport.

But Touchet was unable to gain enough altitude to turn the plane, which crashed in a Silverado Ranch residential area about two miles northwest of the airport.

The plane’s debris field was a block long, and one of the wings ended up in the backyard of a home.