HOUSTON (FOX 26) - As the crumpled remnants of the Cirrus SR-20 were loaded onto a truck bed for transport to an inspection hangar in Dallas, investigators continued the painstaking process of gleaning clues as to why the single-engine aircraft plummeted into the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store.
"I have seen the security video on this business that shows the aircraft was in a flat spin on impact", said National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tom Latson.
Killed instantly in the crash were pilot Dana Gray, her husband Tony and his brother Jerry Gray. All three of them were Oklahoma residents arriving from Norman, reportedly to visit a family member undergoing treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
NTSB investigators say the fireless crash occurred after Dana Gray was twice instructed to divert from landing attempts cleared by the Hobby Airport control tower.
"They directed her to go around because she was either too high or too fast on the third approach," explained Latson. "I've been told that she made the decision herself to go around." It was after that third aborted landing attempt that witnesses saw the aircraft moving "low and slow" before spiraling into the concrete lot.
It does not appear Dana Gray's plane ran out of fuel or ever lost power.
"I will tell you, I found evidence this airplane was equipped with a three-blade metal propeller," said Latson. "There is evidence of significant power at impact by all three propeller blades."
Aviation safety expert Dan Donnelly told FOX 26 News that given the facts available, the most likely explanation is that the plane lost necessary airspeed during a turn which caused the aircraft to stall, triggering a tailspin.