The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says a Canadian pilot who died in a crash at Nashville International Airport was possibly drinking on board and didn’t have the training to land his Cessna 172 in heavy fog at night.
Michael Callan rented the aircraft from the Windsor Flying Club on the evening of Oct. 28, 2013 and filed a flight plan to Pelee Island. It’s not clear if he actually landed there but at 8:30 p.m. he closed the flight plan.
His next known position was near Nashville Airport at 1:42 a.m. and he circled the airport for about two hours before the aircraft disappeared from radar at 3:50 a.m. Even though there was a big post-crash fire, the wreckage wasn’t spotted until 8:45 a.m. when an airliner crew noticed it while taxiing.
There is speculation Callan went to Nashville out of an obsession with then-country singer Taylor Swift. He listed Swift as his emergency contact when renting the plane.
Callan had a long criminal history that included armed robbery and child pornography convictions. The NTSB said the pilot’s mental state likely had a lot to do with the crash.
“The pilot’s prior criminal actions and impulsive behavior are consistent with antisocial personality disorder, which likely led to his impetuous decision to fly to Nashville,” the report said. “It is likely that, because of his impetuous decision, the pilot was unware of the IFR conditions in Nashville until he arrived in the area and that, because he was not instrument rated, he was unable to safely land the airplane with no visual contact with the runway.”
Callan’s blood alcohol reading was as high as .12 in blood tests performed by Tennessee officials.