Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wolf Pitts S-2SW, N24CD, Greco Air Inc: Fatal accident occurred May 14, 2016 at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK), Chamblee, DeKalb County, Georgia

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

Greco Air Inc:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA182
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Atlanta, GA
Aircraft: GREG CONNELL PITTS S-2SW, registration: N24CD
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 14, 2015, about 1647 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S-2SW, N24CD, collided with terrain during an aerial display at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an air show flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from PDK about 1640.

The pilot of the Pitts was performing air show maneuvers and was part of a flight of two, with the other show pilot flying an MX2 airplane. An initial examination of video provided by witnesses indicated that the Pitts pilot performed a crossing maneuver with the MX2 over the airfield, and then he pulled up into a loop. As the Pitts descended out of the loop, the wings rocked back and forth as the MX2 approached from the opposite direction. Immediately prior to ground impact, the Pitts appeared to begin a level-off maneuver.

The airplane impacted the grass infield between runways 21L and 21R. The wreckage debris field was about 500 feet in length, and was oriented on a heading of 235 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, and the right wing. A post-crash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. A parachute was found in the cockpit seat and there were no indications of deployment. The left wing upper and lower surfaces were separated from the main wreckage during the impact sequence and were not burned.

Flight control continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder surfaces to the cockpit controls. All fractures to the flight control connection rods exhibited signatures of overstress. The fuel tank was breached from fire and impact; however, some residual fuel was observed. The wooden propeller blades were separated at the hub and were splintered. Engine internal continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the rear accessory drives. Compression and suction was observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated manually. The spark plug electrodes exhibited normal wear and color when compared to a spark plug inspection chart. Both magnetos were removed and produced spark on all leads when tested.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repairman, experimental aircraft builder certificate and was the registered builder of the accident airplane. The pilot held a FAA second-class medical certificate with no restrictions. The pilot reported 1,800 total hours of flying experience on his medical certificate application that was dated June 17, 2015.

The reported weather conditions at PDK at 1653, about 6 minutes after the accident, included few clouds at 7,000 feet, visibility 10 statute miles or greater, and surface wind from 290 degrees at 17 knots with gusts to 25 knots.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Greg Connell and Gary Ward.

ATLANTA — An Augusta-area pilot is dead after a plane crash at an air show in Atlanta Saturday.

It happened at the Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport.

Friends and family confirm that Greg Connell was the pilot of the plane.

Connell grew up in North Augusta.

Connell and pilot Gary Ward were doing an opposing pass when something went wrong.

“Something didn’t go exactly according to plan. I pulled up to de-conflict and Greg flew underneath me. I had no idea that Greg had crashed like a second later,” Ward said.

Ward kept flying and became confused when he didn’t hear Connell talking back to him via radio.

“I stayed airborne another five minutes then they finally cleared me to land and so it was not until I landed and got out of my airplane to find out really how bad it was,” Ward said.

Now, Ward and the rest of Connell’s large circle of friends are mourning a man who they say was someone you could count on.

Many knew Connell through his local heating and air company, but Ward says Connell’s true passion was flying.

“Just like me, he was passionate about aviation. And, you know, we lived airplanes. That was our life. Greg probably worked to support his flying habit,” Ward said.

Connell grew up around planes and started flying them himself as soon as he could.

“Greg came from a flying family. His dad flew and Greg started flying at early age. Probably 16 or so,” Ward said.

Ward says Connell was also passionate about his country.

“Greg was a true-blue American. He believed in the country. He believed in the principles this country were founded on and was a very patriotic individual,” Ward said.

A prominent business owner, an accomplished pilot, and most importantly, a tried and true friend.

This loss is being felt throughout the community.

“He had a great circle of friends. He was greatly loved by these friends. And he’s going to be greatly missed,” Ward said.

Story and video:

Witness took a picture before takeoff of the Wolf Pitts S-2SW plane that crashed at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK).

What’s left of the Wolf Pitts S-2SW plane is towed away after today’s fatal crash at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK).

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —  DeKalb Fire Rescue has confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that there was a fatal plane crash at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport Saturday afternoon.

The fatal crash took place at the Good Neighbor Day Stunt Show. 

Witnesses say a biplane was engaged in a maneuver and was unable to pull out of a dive. Police believe high winds may have been a contributing factor to the accident.

Police say the pilot did not survive the crash. Officials confirm the pilot is from the Augusta area.

Friends have identified the pilot as Greg Connell of Greg Connell Airshows.

Airport officials say this is the first crash they've had at PDK during the 30 years the airport has been hosting air shows.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been called to investigate this crash.

Channel 2 Action News spoke with Starr Jones of Atlanta who was at the air show with her daughter.

"It happened right in front of where I was standing. It was awful," Jones said. "The announcer said, 'A plane has crashed. Please cover your children's eyes and turn away.'"

Jones said she turned her daughter away from the scene of the crash and told her, "Let's say a prayer for that person."

Moments later Jones said the announcer told the crowd the show was shutting down.

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May issued the following statement:

"A tragedy occurred as professional pilots entertained and educated thousands today.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot who lost his life."

Story and video:

CHAMBLEE, Ga. -- DeKalb County fire and police officials have confirmed to 11Alive that a pilot died, Saturday, after a fatal crash at an area airshow.

The crash happened when an airplane attempted a stunt at DeKalb Peachtree Airport in Chamblee during the 2016 Good Neighbor Day Airshow that was being held at the airport from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Officials at the airport said that weather was clear at the time that the plane came down and that they had never had a crash of this type in 30 years.

The cause is still unclear.

A witness tells 11Alive that the crashed plane was a biplane but few more details are available at this time and the name of the pilot is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

DeKalb Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander called the crash tragic and feared there would be great trauma for the families watching as the plane came down - and for the family of the pilot.

Interim county CEO Lee May also reacted following the crash.

"A tragedy occurred as professional pilots entertained and educated thousands today," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot who lost his life."

The Federal Aviation Administration has been called to further investigate the crash along with several local law enforcement and emergency agencies.

While information is still fluid at least one thing is clear: The flight community at PDK is now in mourning.

Read more here:

The pilot of a plane was killed Saturday afternoon when it crashed during an air show at DeKalb Peachtree Airport, officials said.

The crash occurred near the end of the Good Neighbor Day Air Show and Open House at PDK, about 4:49 p.m. The crash occurred while the pilot was performing aerial acrobatics.

The pilot was from the Augusta area, airport director Mario Evans said at a media briefing. His identity was not released, pending notification of next of kin.

It was the first accident in the air show’s 30-years-plus history, officials said.

“It’s a traumatic incident,” Evans said. “I knew the pilot personally, so I don’t want to go any further. I’m just emotional.”

There was no thought that anyone else was in the plane, DeKalb Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander said.

Officials said they have no idea at this point what caused the crash. Evans said there was some wind, but said, “That’s a normal day for us.”

“It is very, very tragic,” Alexander said. “There was a large crowd that was still here watching the air show when this occurred, so we know this is going to be very traumatic to a lot of people who witnessed this unfortunate event.”

“There were a lot of fire and police and civilian personnel who were here as well, and any time something like this happens, it is so tragic, and our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this pilot.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are involved in the ongoing investigation.

Story and video:

Atlanta, Georgia:   One person -- the pilot -- was killed Saturday afternoon when a biplane crashed during an air show at a metropolitan Atlanta airport, DeKalb County public information officer Shiera Campbell said.

The biplane and another aircraft were performing stunts in tandem during the next-to-last performance of the day at the Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow at DeKalb Peachtree Airport, said CNN Digital news writer Melissa Gray, who attended the show with her family and witnessed the crash.

"They had just crossed in the sky and were about to cross each other close to the ground when the blue plane, having reached the lowest point of the loop, simply went into the grassy median between the two runways," Gray said. "It immediately split apart, with the front of the plane rolling a few times in a fireball."

Fire trucks immediately responded and put out the fire, Gray said. The announcer said the show in Chamblee was over and the crowd left.

"It happened directly in front of the crowd," she said. "There were no gasps from the crowd. It was if everybody could not believe what they had just seen."

Another CNN employee, Senior News Editor Amanda Watts, also witnessed the crash and heard gasps from those near her.

Watts said the plane had been "kind of squirrelly, like it was out of control. Then it went straight into the ground."

Campbell said the name of the pilot is not being released until next of kin are notified.

Story and video:

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -  CBS46 has learned the pilot of a plane died during a crash at an airshow in DeKalb County.

One plane crashed during the Good Neighbor Day Airshow at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Saturday evening.

Authorities say a stunt plane was performing aerial acrobatics at the PDK Good Neighbor Day Airshow, and crashed. There was only one person aboard the plane.

Officials with DeKalb County say this is the first accident in 30 years of the PDK airshow.

Story and video: 

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