For nearly 20 minutes, air traffic controllers at Hobby Airport tried to guide a single-engine plane down safely. Instead, it crashed in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store. All three people on board were killed.
Below is a timeline of selected radio traffic transmissions, according to the website liveatc.net:
Air Traffic Control: “Cirrus 5-2 Golf, maintain maximum forward speed. If able, proceed directly to numbers. 737 is on a nine mile final following you with an 80 knot overtake.”
Air Traffic Control: “Cirrus 5-2 Golf, tower.”
Pilot: “42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “Yeah, I got traffic behind you. Just go around and fly runway heading now. Maintain VFR to put you back in a downwind for runway 3-5. The winds are zero niner zero at 1-3. Gusts 1-8. Can you accept runway 3-5?”
Pilot: “We’ll go around and line-up for runway 3-5. Downwind.”
Air Traffic Control: “Fly runway heading for four for right now.”
Pilot: “We’ll fly runway heading for four. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “A 737 on five mile final, runway four. You’re going to be in front of him.
Pilot: “42-52 Golf, turning around for runway 3-5.”
Air Traffic Control: “Okay 52 Golf, let’s just, just enter the right downwind for runway 3-5.
Pilot: “Right downwind for 3-5 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “52-Golf, I’ll call your right base now.”
Air Traffic Control: “Cirrus 52-Golf. 737 at your two o’clock and three miles at niner hundred feet inbound for runway four. Advise when you have traffic in sight.”
Pilot: “I have traffic in sight. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “42-52 Golf, make a right base behind that traffic for me, 3-5. Clear to land. You’re going to be following them. They’re going to be landing crossing runway prior to your arrival.”
Pilot: “We’ll make a right base following them. 42-52 Golf for 3-5.”
Air Traffic Control: “Southwest 35-64. Cirrus traffic ahead and to your right. Has you in sight. Going to make a right base behind you. Landing crossing runway behind you.”
Southwest Pilot: “Southwest 35-64.”
Air Traffic Control: “Cirrus 5-2 Golf. Make a, turn left 30 degrees.
Pilot: “Left heading 30 degrees. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “November 5-2 Golf, did you want to follow the 737 runway four?
Pilot: “Yes, that would be great. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “November 5-2 Golf, roger. Follow the 737 and it’s runway four, clear to land.
Pilot: “So am I turning a right base now 42-52 Golf?”
Air Traffic Control: “November 5-2 Golf, roger. Just maneuver back for the straight in. I don’t know which way you’re going now. Just turn back around to runway 3-5.
Pilot: “Turning to 3-5. I’m so sorry for the confusion. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “That’s okay. We’ll get it.”
Air Traffic Control: “November 5-2 Golf, I need to you, okay, there you go. Straight into runway 3-5. Clear to land.”
Pilot: “Straight into 3-5. Cleared to land. And I don’t believe I’m lined up for that. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “Okay 5-2 Golf. Roger. Turn to the right. And climb, maintain 1,600. Right turn.”
Pilot: “1,600 right turn. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “5-2 Gulf, yes ma’am. Heading about 0-4-0.”
Pilot: “0-4-0. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “Okay 5-2 Golf. Let’s do this. Can you do a right turn back to join the straight in to 3-5? Could you do it like that?”
Pilot: “Yes, right turn back to 3-5. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “November 5-2 Golf, okay so you’re just going to make a right turn all the way around to runway 3-5. And now you’re clear to land.”
Pilot: “3-5 clear to land. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “5-2 Golf, there’s a 747 on short final. Runway four touching down right in front of you. Just caution wake turbulence right at that intersection. “
Pilot: “Okay. I’ve got that in sight. Thank you. 42-52 Golf.”
Pilot: “Runway 3-5 in sight. 42-52 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “5-2 Golf, winds zero niner zero at 13. Gusts at 1-8. Runway 3-5, again cleared to land.”
Pilot: “3-5, cleared to land. Trying to get down again (laughs). 42-45 Golf.”
Air Traffic Control: “No problem.”
Air Traffic Control: “Cirrus 42-52 Golf just go ahead and make the left turn now to enter the downwind, midfield downwind for only four, if you can just give me a nice tight pattern, I’m going to have traffic four miles behind you so I need you to just kind of keep it in tight if you could. And actually I might end up sequencing behind that traffic it’s going four miles a minute, it is going to be a little bit tight with the one behind it, so when you get on that downwind, stay on the downwind and advise me when you have that 737 in site, will either do four or we might swing you around to 3-5. Uh ma’am, ma’am straighten up straighten up.”
The plane then appeared to stall and nosedived to the ground, landing on a car parked outside the store. Relatives confirm that Tony Gray, his wife Dana and brother Jerry were on the plane.