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Preliminary report released on Waukesha Co. plane crash that killed husband and wife

Posted at 10:24 AM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 11:29:23-04

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the plane crash in Waukesha County last month that killed two people.

The report from investigators contains a few new details and is the next step in the federal government's investigation into the latest small plane crash in our area. Just last weekend one person was killed in a plane crash in the same county.

The NTSB's preliminary report begins that on Oct. 12, at around 9:15 a.m., the Glasair airplane took off from the Lawrence J Timmerman Airport. The occupants, earlier identified by family as husband and wife Randy and Susie Reimer, hoped to fly to the Salina Regional Airport in Salina, Kansas.

Randy and Susie Reimer

Randy had received clearance for a special visual flight rules departure with the restriction that he kept an altitude at or below 2,300 feet mean sea level, the report states. That day had been cloudy.

The report states the plane flew southwest, and then made a tight left turn. Footage from the report shows the plane made a circle in the air before going down.


The airplane hit a tree, then traveled about 200 feet before hitting a slope, according to the report. The wreckage path continued another 90 feet towards a slight ravine, and then up an embankment. Both wings were separated from the rest of the plane.

The main wreckage consisting of the fuselage and empennage continued another 200 feet, before coming to a halt against trees. The engine separated and came to a rest 58 feet past the main wreckage. The propeller was "sheared" from the propeller flange and was found near the main wreckage, according to the report.


In terms of weather, the report cites a reading from Timmerman Airport. At 8:45 a.m. visibility was read at 10 miles with an overcast ceiling at 900 feet above ground level. At 9:45 a.m., Waukesha County Airport reported five miles visibility with mist and an overcast ceiling at 400 feet.

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Debris from the crash.

Deputies searched the area and found the plane in a wooded area south of Redwing Drive. There they confirmed the deaths of the pilot and passenger of the plane. No one else was injured in the crash, the sheriff's office said.

TMJ4 News spoke with pilot Dick Knapinski, who says the plane has a good safety record. “A very stable design, a very sturdy design, lot of them out there that have been built and flying successfully,” said Knapinski.

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Debris from the crash.

The NTSB's online database shows the board has investigated 21 aviation accidents in Wisconsin this year - four of which were fatal.

Audio between pilot and dispatch

TMJ4 News has obtained the recorded conversation between pilot Randy Reimer and air traffic dispatchers.

The first two minutes are of the pilot and dispatcher checking in with each other.

Soon after, Reimer tells dispatch "to hang on a second" as his audio keeps going in and out. He was trying to tell them where he was flying to.

Dispatch then tells him "We can barely hear you." He keeps asking the pilot where he is.

Reimer eventually says, "I can hear you now."

About a minute later, Reimer tells dispatch, "We've got to climb. I hope to get above the clouds."

Reimer then tells dispatch, "My destination is Selena, Kansas." This would be the last they hear from him.

Right after, dispatch asks him if he's going to be able to reach his destination. He says something like "or do you need to," but then it cuts out and says something inaudible.

Almost four minutes into the recording, the dispatcher says, "Radar contact has been lost."

The dispatcher asks another dispatcher to try to contact the plane or see if they can see him on the radar.

The other dispatcher tells the original dispatcher, "They haven't responded."

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