UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Investigators have identified a man who was killed Friday when a small aircraft he was piloting crashed in Union County. The crash happened around 4 p.m. on the 4000 block of Poplin Road.
Officials said 59-year-old Robert William Schroll, of Pageland, SC, was killed. Schroll was injured in a similar crash near the same location in November 2015.
From WBTV's Sky 3 the small craft could be seen just outside a wooded area near a mobile home.
The aircraft appeared to have caught fire at some point, as the area directly around it was burned.
“I saw the smoke and I believed it was dust when I looked out the window and saw it,” said Aubrey Haigler.
The plane crashed near Haigler's property. He is the owner of Haigler Trucking Company in Monroe.
Crash witness Bill Laucht said the plane had descended to a lower altitude and almost looked like it was about to land right before it crashed.
"He got behind the trees. I heard the power of the motor race up high and about two seconds after that, I heard it crash into the trees,” said Laucht.
The witness said he saw the flames coming from the plane and knew the situation was not good.
Glen Moody, a radio control pilot who flies remote control planes nearby, said he had helped rescue Schroll the last time his plane had crashed.
“I had to get covered with gasoline in order to get him out. I couldn't even tell if he was alive, but I kept getting under there and checking him and there were some signs of life," said Moody about the first crash.
Hearing that the same pilot he had once helped was now dead because of a crash weighed heavily on Moody.
“It’s terrible. It’s tragic and I have trouble showing emotion but I’m torn up inside," said Moody.
The FAA is covering the investigation.
Original article can be found here: http://www.wbtv.com
NTSB Identification: ERA16LA045
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 21, 2015 in Monroe, NC
Aircraft: PHANTOM AERONAUTICS PHANTOM X 1, registration: N28365
Injuries: 1 Serious.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On November 21, 2015, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Phantom Aeronautics Phantom X1, N28365, impacted trees near Edwards Airport (9NC3), Monroe, North Carolina. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. The non-certificated pilot incurred serious injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident, the accident pilot was flying in formation with a similar airplane to 9NC3. After the other airplane landed at 9NC3, the accident pilot began a left turning maneuver to be in position to land. As the airplane descended, the left wing struck trees, and subsequently impacted the ground.
Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane impacted in a wing low, nose down attitude. The outboard section of the right wing exhibited crush damage and was bent aft. The forward section of the fuselage was impact damaged and bent to the left. In addition, the engine remained attached to the fuselage; however, all propeller blades were impact separated and located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. An odor similar to fuel was noted at the accident site.
Troopers say 58-year-old Richard Schroll from Mayodan, North Carolina, crashed his ultralight plane in the middle of a pasture off Poplin Road.
"Once I got here the actual pilot was laid out on the ground," Trooper Dustin Grieve said.
Troopers said Schroll was alert but they said he didn't know his name right after he crashed into this field. He was flown to the hospital.
A woman who happened to be driving by and saw it happen spoke to Channel 9. "It was just this plane and it was spiraling down from the sky," she said.
Richard Price owns the farm where the crash happened. "It's nothing on the weekends to have these little ultralights, little homemade rigs, flying through," Price said.
Schroll received a severe concussion.
According to a source in Union County the plane is leaking fuel, but not on fire.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
Story, video and photos: http://www.wsoctv.com
UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The Union County Sheriff's Office says the pilot of a ultralight aircraft was taken to the hospital after crashing in Union County.
The crash reportedly happened near Poplin Road around 3:30 Saturday afternoon.
Officials say the pilot was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
The pilot's condition has not been released.
Trooper Dustin Grieve with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the pilot was conscious and alert. He said the man was airlifted to the hospital as more of a precaution than anything else.
"It definitely could have been a lot worse. There is always that possibility, but we were lucky today that it wasn't as bad as it could have been," said Grieve.
Robert Price, the man who owns the property where the plane crashed, said he got a call about the crash Saturday afternoon.
"This is our farm. This is our home. Toys are replaceable,lives aren't, and that's what we talked about the last 40 minutes on the road-hoping nobody got hurt," said Price.
No details have been released about why the ultralight crashed. An investigation is underway.
Grieves said troopers will do routine patrols in the area to make sure nobody is taking parts of the plane. He said representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration were being called in to help investigate the crash.
Story and photo: http://www.wbtv.com