by Marion Marks
Credibility is a function of a long-term record of factual accuracy which has stood the test of time, whereas inaccuracies create shadows that destroy public perception of a person or a voice in the community. There is no more valuable asset I or my voice can have than my credibility, and defending it in the case of attack by another who seeks to use my destruction as a stepping stone to public office gives me even greater reason to communicate factually accurate information I believe sets the record straight.
In this article I make yet another factual account of inaccurate statements – another attempt to hide truth by sheriff candidate Eric Hatfield.
The FAA-NTSB reports regarding a crash landing of a plane registered to Hatfield Enterprises LLC and flown by Eric Hatfield at New Orleans Lakefront Airport (KNEW) has never been in dispute. What has been in question are the facts and attempted cover up of this crash. These facts speak directly to issues of his credibility.
According to the NTSB report of the crash the facts are:
NTSB Identification: CEN 12LA434
On June 26, 2012, about 1930 central daylight time, a Beech A36, N136EH, landed with its wheels retracted on runway 36L (6,879 feet by 150 feet, dry grooved asphalt) at the Lakefront Airport (NEW), near New Orleans, Louisiana. The private pilot and his two passengers were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial lower fuselage damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Hatfield Enterprises LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.
According to the pilot’s report, he lowered the landing gear approximately five miles out while the airplane was on an extended downwind. He observed three green landing lights and felt the wind resistance as the gear engaged in the down position. He selected 10 degrees of flaps during the turn to the base leg. The pilot, in part, stated:
“Momentarily we touched down over the numbers. As we touched down on the gear the aircraft bounced and then touched down again. As the aircraft touched down this time It felt as though the gear was not sound. I then engaged full power to initiate a go-around. As I initiated full power the aircraft remained in ground effect. The aircraft remained in ground effect and did not gain a positive rate of climb. As I could not climb I advised passenger to unlatch the rear door as I reached over the front passenger to unlatch his door. I turned fuel to the ‘off’ position as I settled the aircraft on the runway I turned off the mags and master during the prop strike. The aircraft proceeded to skid and came to rest approximately 2000′ from the end of 36L.”
The complete NTSB Aviation Accident and Incident Data System (NTSB) Brief Report(FINAL REPORT) regarding the crash landing of Hatfield’s plane states:
When the accident airplane was removed from the runway after the accident, its landing gear was found in the retracted position, and ground scars on the runway and damage to the airplane’s propellers, landing gear doors, and belly were consistent with the landing gear not being extended before landing. Further, a witness in an airplane flying abeam the accident airplane during its approach to land reported that he did not see its landing gear extended. Postaccident examination revealed no indication of preimpact malfunction or anomaly that would have precluded normal operation of the landing gear. Although an intermittent landing gear horn anomaly was noted during postaccident examination, it could not be determined if that anomaly existed before the accident.
AIRCRAFT 1 CAUSE REPORT
The pilot’s failure to lower the landing gear before touchdown. [Highlighted PDF of report]
The record clearly indicates the National Transportation Safety Board conclusion that the accident was the result of PILOT ERROR. This is not a witch hunt or a personal search to destroy anyone’s character. This is a scientific investigation into facts regarding the safe and proper conduct of a pilot performing duties that endanger the lives of not only the passengers but all who live in the path where the airplane travels. No more important duties exist for the FAA and NTSB than keeping passengers, citizens and pilots out of harm’s way of poorly trained or otherwise incapable operators of airplanes. This equates to the original photos I secured of alleged toxic materials that could harm people and animals, no more or no less.
This standard of regulation is exactly the regulation I believe all citizens should expect for publicly elected officials. And, this is the standard I believe I have levied in attempting to judge the actions of Eric Hatfield, no more or no less.
In failing to maintain credibility with the NTSB while endangering the lives of passengers and the public, and in making false claims regarding my actions of attempting to photograph what was reported to me as toxic oil products stored on his property that may have endangered the public, I cannot assert anything other than the facts of the cases. I cannot draw conclusions of guilt or innocence on any allegations, but I can report honestly observations that will allow others to make judgments.
The facts I reported I still believe are accurate, and I believe intelligent citizens will easily draw the proper conclusions. I deeply regret that any innocent party would have been misled to believe any intention I had was less than honest and appropriate for the actions I have taken. Yet, I must continue to protect my name and my reputation when others take offensive steps to bring me and those around me harm. As I have said “IIWII” – It Is What It Is, and I stand by the facts.