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NTSB preliminary report made public

By Beth Alston

 

AMERICUS — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report on the July 24 plane crash in Sumter County that killed two local pilots.

The crash, in a pecan grove off Old Andersonville Road in rural northern Sumter County, occurred shortly before 6 a.m. as pilot Edd Anthony, flying his Cirrus SR22, and friend and fellow pilot Mike Cochran, headed out for the air show at Oshkosh, Wisc. The two men were the only people on board.

The preliminary report, which is subject to change and may contain errors, says the flight, originating at Jimmy Carter Regional Airport, lasted only about three minutes. The plane took off at 5:47 a.m. and crashed at 5:50. “Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed,” the report says.

Other findings in the preliminary report include the following.

  • A witness said he heard an airplane engine around 5:50 a.m. which sounded “whining” and “loud.”
  • Both men held commercial pilot certificates with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, and instrument ratings. The pilot, Anthony, and Cochran were both issued medical certification but were required to wear glasses for near vision.
  • The plane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on April 3, 2018.
  • The plane came to rest on a pecan farm at an elevation of 477 ft. with a wreckage path of approximately 400 ft. The initial tree strike was about 100 ft. from the ground. The plane crashed to the ground about 50 ft. beyond the tree strike, and came to rest about 75 ft. beyond the original ground scar. “Several pecan trees along the debris path were damaged by fire and wilted consistent with fuel blight.”
  • The plane had made a 180-degree turn before crashing.
  • The weather recorded at 5:50 a.m. at the airport, about two miles south of the crash site, “included an overcast ceiling at 500 ft.” Visibility was 10 miles.