Pilot error and engine failure caused a plane crash in Biddeford last April that killed a 71-year-old North Yarmouth man, according to a report released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Edward L’Hommedieu, 71, the pilot and lone passenger of a twin-engine Cessna, failed to maintain sufficient airspeed as he made his final descent into the Biddeford Airport, the report said.

L’Hommedieu died after the plane crashed into a house near the airport. The crash happened during the daytime and weather was not a factor, officials have said.

Prior to the crash, the pilot experienced loss of power in his plane’s right engine. That loss of power occurred because o-rings in the engine throttle and control assembly were not properly installed, the NTSB report concluded. It did not say who was responsible for the improper installation of the parts.

Without a working engine, the plane’s groundspeed was only 69 knots during descent, the report said, well below the minimum speed of 95 knots.

L’Hommedieu, who had flown to Maine from White Plains, N.Y., was scheduled to pick up a passenger in Biddeford and then continue to another destination, Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said last year. The plane, built in 1977, was registered to a Nantucket company, My Plane LLC, but had been based at Portland International Jetport for some time, according to the manager of the Nantucket Memorial Airport.

Although he never made a distress call, the pilot had been in regular communication with air traffic controllers during the flight, and his plane appeared on the radar screens of air traffic controllers in Portland, airport director Paul Bradbury said at the time.

The homeowners, Kim and Steve Myers, who were not home when the crash occurred, said last year that the planned to rebuild on the site.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:
Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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