Thursday, June 29, 2023

NTSB Report: Witnesses say plane's nose 'dropped' before fatal crash near Colonial Beach

Witnesses report seeing the nose of an experimental plane drop before it crashed in Colonial Beach, Va., killing a father and son onboard. The reports were part of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary investigation report released on Thursday.

According to the NTSB report, on June 7, at 10:15 a.m. EDT, an experimental Vans RV-6 aircraft (registration N835BC) was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Colonial Beach, Va. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

A witness to the accident stated he was a lifelong friend of the passenger, and the passenger’s son, the pilot. He stated the pilot and his father flew to his house on June 6 from Wilmington, N.C. The airplane landed at a neighbor’s house on a 1,700-foot-long grass runway.

They went night fishing and on the morning of the accident, the witness dropped them off at the airplane. The pilot told him they would fly to Tappahannock Airport in Tappahannock, Va., to fill up with fuel before returning to Wilmington. The witness then returned to his house.

About 30 minutes later, while standing in his driveway, the witness heard the airplane flying overhead. He watched the aircraft as it made two circles around his house. The airplane was in a “very steep” or “knife edge” tight circle on the second circle, only about 100 ft above the ground. The nose of the airplane dropped, and the aircraft impacted the ground beside his driveway almost vertically. He further stated that the engine sounded like it was “running well” the entire time.

A second witness, the neighbor, stated that the pilot and his father previously flew to his runway about six times over the last couple of years.

The neighbor further stated that on the morning of the accident, he noticed the airplane circling his neighbor’s house while he was driving, so he stopped his truck to watch it.

The airplane made a couple of circles around the house and some up-and-down maneuvers. On the last circle around the house, at an altitude of 100 ft, the airplane was in a tight circle knife edge turn. The airplane was “not going very fast” and the nose of the airplane dropped down about 20°. It then dropped to 80° and the airplane impacted the ground vertically next to the driveway.

The accident site was located between a driveway and a cornfield. The airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude, the NTSB said in their report. A post-crash fire consumed most of the airplane.

The fuselage, instrument panel, cabin, seats, and inboard wings were all consumed by fire. All the accessories were fire damaged and mostly melted.

The NTSB will continue to investigate the accident and release a final report in the future.

Fatal plane crashes in Virginia for 2023:

June - Preliminary report released on Cessna jet crash in Virginia

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