By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
An 82-year-old pilot flying Oklahoma State University women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and the pilot’s wife lost control of the airplane before crashing, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
All were killed in the Nov. 17, 2011, wreck. The reason for the loss of control could not be determined, according to the report. No anomalies in the airframe or engine could be found.
Olin Branstetter, the pilot, was flying the group from Stillwater to North Little Rock to scout two prospective high school recruits.
According to the report, approximately two hours after departure, radar data tracked the Piper airplane at 7,000 feet before it initiated a right, descending turn before disappearing from radar. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying low, descending, making several turns, before hitting ground. Impact signatures were consistent with a steep, nose-low attitude.
Branstetter held a commercial pilot certificate. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate for single engine airplanes. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on April 1, 2010, with a restriction for corrective lenses for near and distant vision.
A review of the pilot’s log book revealed the pilot had accrued more than 2,200 hours total air time, with more than 350 hours in the accident airplane. The pilot’s last flight review was flown April 9, 2010, and his most recent night time review was April 25, 2011, at which time he had logged night landings.
Branstetter was a graduate of and contributor to OSU.