BOSTON (AP) — A New Hampshire pilot who prosecutors said wasn’t qualified to fly without an instructor on board has been indicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with a western Massachusetts plane crash that killed his 35-year-old daughter.
Steven T. Fay, 57, of Hillsborough, N.H., caused Jessica L. Malin’s death through “wanton or reckless conduct” when the Cessna he was piloting on approach to Orange Municipal Airport after dark on Jan., 1, 2011 clipped the tops of some trees and crashed upside-down, prosecutors said Monday.
“Fay … was neither licensed nor qualified to fly that twin-engine plane without an instructor on board” Assistant District Attorney Steve Gagne said.
Fay’s lack of expertise, training and supervision on the flight violated Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations and “created a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another,” Gagne said.
Fay also endangered people on the ground, Gagne said.
Fay said Monday he has been a licensed pilot for 20 years.
“I don’t want to say anything because I haven’t found a lawyer yet and I don’t know what I’m up against,” Fay said.
“I loved my daughter and I’ve been suffering from her loss for a year now,” he said. “I haven’t been able to work and I’m making it day by day.”
Fay told authorities he had taken off from Keene, N.H., at about 4:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day and decided to practice touch-and-go landings in Orange before returning to Keene.
The crash occurred about 90 minutes after sunset.
Federal investigators have ruled out mechanical failure, weather, and operator impairment as factors in the crash. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.