Northampton Airport answers pilot control questions in East Hartford crash

22News found out how that plane is controlled.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Local, state, and federal authorities continue to investigate the crash of a plane in East Hartford, Connecticut. 22News visited the Northampton Airport on Thursday to find out how a similar plane is controlled.

It wasn’t the exact Piper PA 34 model, but we were able to see the inside controls of a similar two engine Beechcraft training aircraft.

Authorities now believe Tuesday’s plane crash near jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut was intentional. It’s too early to speculate what brought the plane down which was occupied by a flight instructor and a foreign flight student.

Northampton Airport flight student Shannon O’Leary of Belchertown told 22News it was hard news for her to hear. “Hearing that something like this could have been intentional, It’s almost heartbreaking in a way. I’ve never found myself in a position where I would want to do something like this. As a student you are always trying to impress your instructor.”

Flight instructor Dave Strassburg told 22News it’s all about getting to know, and developing a relationship with your student co-pilot. “They could grab the controls and do something to it but you are both equally able to grab those controls in the same way. It’s just a matter of building that report with the student and understanding who is in charge of the aircraft,” said Strassburg.

22News took a look inside a Beechcraft Duchess 76. It’s very similar to the plane that crashed in East Hartford. It’s a twin engine training plane with duel sets of controls, one for the student and one for the instructor.

There may not be an override button, but Strassburg told 22News there’s constant communication in the cockpit and a good instructor will bring the plane to a safe altitude for flight training. Too low can cause problems.

“If he surprised the instructor and the instructor wasn’t expecting it and grabbed those controls it may not have been much reaction time if they were close to the ground. It is a more complicated aircraft. The only people who know what happened in the cockpit are the two people who are in there,” said Strassburg.

The deceased student flyer was a 28 year old Jordanian man named Faras Freitekh.