LILLIAN, Ala. (WALA) – Examination of wreckage from a plane crash near Lillian will have to wait until crews can retrieve the plane’s wreckage from the swamp, the NTSB said on Friday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report that the pilot had logged over 700 hours of flight time before the July 23 crash, which left the pilot and passenger of the amateur-built plane dead.
The pilot had just completed a 15-minute scenic flight with another passenger, before lifting off again for the flight. After it didn’t return, search and rescue procedures were initiated.
The two-seat tandem, bi-wing, tailwheel airplane, was assembled in 1978 and issued an Federal Aviation Administration experimental airworthiness certificate. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320, 150-horsepower engine. Officials said the pilot based the plane out of Ferguson Airport in Pensacola, where that flight lifted off from.
The plane didn’t have a transponder, and was not required to, so the NTSB reviewed radar data from the FAA to track its course, six hours after the pilot and passenger were last heard from, at 4 p.m., the state police tracked the pilot’s phone and found the wreckage about 5 miles northwest of the airport.