Pilot killed in Shafter crash said he missed his ‘window to leave’ before taking off: NTSB

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SHAFTER, Calif. (KGET) — Max Allen Hanner was in and out of the office the morning of Nov. 3, continually checking weather conditions and waiting for fog to clear so he could fly a single-engine plane from Shafter to New Cuyama.

Hanner, 62, told someone the fog had briefly cleared and he had missed his “window to leave,” according to a report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

About 20 minutes later, Hanner took off from Minter Field. His last words to another person before leaving were “…you just have to get high enough over the top of the weather to get in the clear,” the report says.

The plane, an Ayres Corporation S-2R, crashed at 11:30 a.m. about 1 1/4 miles northwest of the airport. Hanner, the only occupant, was killed.

“The debris field was about 800-feet long, on a westerly heading,” according to the preliminary NTSB report. “The airplane impacted terrain, then an irrigation standpipe located near the middle of the debris field. A post-impact fire ensued.”

The report says the wreckage was taken to a secured facility for further examination. NTSB will eventually release a final report with a more detailed description of the crash and its probable cause.

Hanner was flying to pick up dry seed that would be dispersed over farmland.

The plane was operated by Inland Aviation, Inc., which offers crop, fuel and even film services, its crop dusters featured in films and TV shows.

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