TALKEETNA, Alaska (KTUU) - Officials say the pilot of a plane that crashed in Willow last weekend was on her first night of training after being certified to fly.
According to a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, the 20-year-old pilot, identified as Robin C Spaulding, of Talkeenta, reported that "the accident flight was her first night training flight since receiving her private pilot certificate on August 9, 2018."
Spaulding was reportedly learning stop-and-go landings and night flight operations from John P Cabaud, 29, also of Talkeenta. Spaulding said that Cabaud was also the pilot who provided the bulk of her initial private pilot training.
Both survived the crash, and were able to speak to NTSB investigators to better formulate the report of what happened.
According to Spaulding, the plane was taking off from a runway and had climbed to about 1,000 feet. She told investigators that the last thing she remembered was Cabaud saying, "What's wrong with your attitude indicator?"
Cabaud told investigators that he felt something was wrong after the ascent took a right turn over unlit terrain. He said that the sound of the wind stream seemed unusual, and that he took control of the plane from Spaulding, but the plane crashed before he could pull the plane up.