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Report: Mechanic advised Belton pilot not to fly plane before fatal July 4 crash

A mechanic who worked on the plane days before the crash advised the pilot not to fly the plane until an issue with the oil filtration system was examined.

KILLEEN, Texas — Editor's Note: The video above first aired on July 5

A new report released Tuesday regarding a July 4 fatal plane crash in Killeen revealed details about the plane's condition days before the flight ended in the death of 60-year-old Bradley Guy Marzari of Belton.

The preliminary report, released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), indicated that a mechanic who worked on the plane just two days before the crash had advised Marzari not to fly the plane until an issue with the oil filtration system was examined.

On July 2, the mechanic installed a part on the engine after it was repaired by an overhaul shop, according to the report. The mechanic then conducted an engine run to make sure the plane's engine was working properly, but he noticed the "chip detector" cockpit warning light was on, the report stated. 

The mechanic shut down the engine, drained the oil and found "metal contamination" on the filter screen and inside the filter housing, the report added. 

RELATED: Friends describe man killed in Killeen plane crash as 'experienced pilot'

He reportedly discussed with Marzari about the material he found and said it needed to be collected and sent to a lab for additional analysis, the report said. The mechanic added that they needed to determine what the material was and the source of its contamination before Marzari flew the plane, the report said. However, Marzari told the mechanic he intended to fly the plane back to Killeen, the report added.

The mechanic collected samples before cleaning the filtration system, sensor and screen, according to the report. He put in new oil and then conducted another engine run and did not observe the "chip light" on, the report said.

Marzari returned the next day, July 3, to retrieve the plane. The mechanic saw Marzari complete an engine startup before he left Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport in Temple for Skylark Field in Killeen. 

The mechanic said he thought the plane was going to stay in Killeen until the lab results were returned concerning the metal particles.

6 News previously reported Marzari left Skylark Field the morning of July 4 for a day trip to New Braunfels. Marzari reportedly crashed in Killeen the evening of July 4 on his way back from New Braunfels. He went down in a private field off E. Trimmier and Stagecoach Roads, which resulted in his death. 

RELATED: Belton man identified as pilot who died in small plane crash in Killeen over weekend

As Marzari was headed to Skylark Field, an individual said they heard the pilot transmit over the aircraft emergency frequency that he "lost his engine" and "wasn't going to make it to the airport." A witness reported seeing the airplane flying toward the airport and hearing the engine make a "sputtering" noise before it "stalled," the NTSB reports.

A post-accident examination found the plane had an Aviation Development Corporation oil filtration system, which was equipped with a standard "bypass" switch, which gives a visual indication of when the system is bypassing engine oil past the filter screen when wired to a cockpit warning light, the report found. 

A separate detector was offered as an optional feature, but was not installed as part of the oil filtration system on the plane, the safety board reported. With that, NTSB's investigation found the amber cockpit warning light was mislabeled as "chip detector" and it was actually a visual indication of when the oil filtration system was operating in bypass. 

You can read the full report from the NTSB here.

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