The plane that carried Aaliyah and eight others to their deaths last month in the Bahamas was out of balance and was weighted down with passengers and luggage that exceeded the craft's limits, a preliminary report said.
"The total weight of the luggage, fuel on board at the time of the accident, plus the weight of the passengers showed that the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded,'' according to a report by the Bahamian Department of Civil Aviation issued Saturday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The report also said the plane's center of gravity was too far toward the tail and "significantly outside the flight envelope."
A spokesperson for the NTSB had no further comment Monday (September 10).
The new report supports an earlier statement by the Department of Civil Aviation's Randy Butler, who said the combined weight of luggage and passengers put the plane's total load over its maximum authorized take-off weight (see "Report Shows Aaliyah's Plane Was Overloaded").
Plane owner Gilbert Chacon has only communicated with investigators through his attorneys, and has not turned over aircraft or engine logbooks, the report said.
Butler said last month that Blackhawk Aviation, owned by Chacon, was not authorized to pick up passengers in the Bahamas. In addition, pilot Luis Morales III had recently pleaded no contest to cocaine possession and was not registered to fly for the airline (see "Pilot Of Aaliyah's Plane Had Been Caught With Cocaine, Was Not Authorized To Fly").
For complete coverage of the Aaliyah tragedy, check out "The Aaliyah Reports."