Canadian pilot who died in Nashville crash drunk, obsessed

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 6:46 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Canadian pilot who died when he tried to land a small plane at the Nashville International Airport during dense fog he was not qualified to fly in was legally drunk and obsessed with a Nashville celebrity. That's according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the Oct. 29, 2013, crash.

The report does not name the celebrity, but 45-year-old Michael Callan's flying club membership lists Taylor Swift as his emergency contact.

The investigation also notes Callan had repeated criminal convictions in Canada, although NTSB investigators have declined to specify what crimes Callan committed.

"The pilot's prior criminal actions and impulsive behavior are consistent with anti-social personality disorder, which likely led to his impetuous decision to fly to Nashville," the report states.

It goes on to say Callan likely was unaware until he arrived at the Nashville airport that it was under a dense fog, and his attempt to land in that fog without proper training was the principal cause of the accident.

"He was unable to safely land the airplane with no visual contact with the runway," the report states.

Contributing factors were Callan's mental state, his alcohol consumption and his decision to fly to Nashville without the plane owner's permission or proper flight clearances. The investigation, which was first reported by investigative reporter Walter F. Roche Jr. on his blog, found no mechanical malfunctions.

According to the investigation, Callan's single-engine Cessna 172F was registered to the Windsor Flying Club in Ontario, Canada. Callan filed a flight plan on Oct. 28, 2013, that listed his destination airport as Pelee Island, also in Ontario.

Transportation Canada reported Callan closed his flight plan at about 8:30 p.m., an action that would normally indicate a pilot had arrived at his or her destination. He did not file any additional flight plans and was not in touch with air traffic control in the United States.

Investigators reviewing the Nashville airport's radar saw a plane arrive within the 20 nautical mile ring of the airport's airspace at about 1:42 a.m. Radar shows Callan circling the airport for about two hours before attempting to land. He last appears on the radar at about 3:50 a.m.

The crash went unnoticed, despite the plane catching fire. The wreckage was not discovered until 8:45 a.m., when another pilot saw it while taxiing for departure.