The crash of a small vintage airplane a year ago was the result of not having enough fuel on board, according to federal investigators.

The federal report also says the pilot should not have been flying because his application for a medical certificate had been denied by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D crashed Aug. 14, 2010, in Harrison killing pilot George Fortin, 68, of Naples and his passenger, Tony Kalinuk, 73, of Harrison.

The two men were members of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 141, in Limington.

The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that the crash was the result of inadequate fuel supply. Witnesses reported hearing a sputtering engine followed by silence, the NTSB report said.
The airplane collided with the tops of trees then crashed nose down into the ground, the report said.

Investigators recovered just four ounces of fuel from the airplane, even though the tank and fuel supply system had not been compromised, the report said.

An investigation of the flight controls, engine and engine systems revealed no malfunction nor did the fuel quantity indicator in the main fuel tank, the report said.

The report blamed the crash on the pilot’s improper fuel management, which led to the total loss of engine power.

A mechanic who had performed the last inspection of the plane had seen the pilot earlier in the day bringing the plane out of a hangar at Limington Airport and said to him the fuel indicator showed little fuel in the plane. The pilot’s response seemed to indicate he thought the fuel gauge did not work properly and that he knew how much fuel he had, the report said.

The pilot took off at 8:30 a.m. and flew to Maple Ridge Airport in Harrison where he picked up a passenger for a two-hour flight.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise followed by silence, and the plane disappeared from view. The plane was reported overdue at 8 p.m. and the wreckage was found the following morning at 6 a.m.

The report says Fortin held a private pilot certificate for single-engine aircraft last issued in September 1982. His application for a third-class medical certificate on Aug. 19, 2008, was denied by the FAA.

The report does not suggest that any medical condition contributed to the crash.

Kalinuk, who was described as the passenger in reports about the crash, did have a valid pilot’s license and medical certificate, the report said.

Fortin was vice president of the local Experimental Aircraft Association. Kalinuk was the group’s technical adviser. The group promotes building aircraft and supports general aviation