Plane crash preliminary report Indicates a mechanical Issue with Johnny Morgan’s plane

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The National Transportation Safety Board released the preliminary report on a plane crash that killed local Oxford business man Johnny Morgan, a former State Senator in Mississippi.

The crash occurred on May 17  in Arkansas after the pilot had been in contact with Fort Smith Air Traffic Control.

According to the preliminary NTSB report, Morgan was heading to Drake Field to have his plane serviced. The report stated he was having an issue with his autopilot system before the May 17 flight.

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The pilot had contacted an avionics repair facility at Drake Field Airport, Fayetteville, Arkansas (FYV) to discuss autopilot issues he was having with the airplane. He told the avionics technician that when engaged in heading hold mode the autopilot would place the airplane into a steep left bank. The technician had the pilot perform ground checks of the autopilot system with no discrepancies noted. He then had the pilot perform a maintenance flight in visual flight rules conditions to test the autopilot system. The pilot told the technician that during the test flight, the airplane still entered a left roll and he disengaged the autopilot once a 40° bank was reached. The technician advised the pilot that he would need to bring the airplane in for service and to not utilize the autopilot during the flight. The pilot planned to fly the airplane to FYV and leave it at the avionics facility for maintenance.

The airplane impacted wooded terrain, descending through an opening in the tree canopy. Based on the damage to the surrounding trees, the impact signatures and the airplane damage, the descent was near vertical. Both engines and propellers were embedded in the terrain, and the entire airplane was fragmented.  The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.