Friday, June 16, 2017

Fatal accident occurred June 16, 2017 near Harnett Regional Jetport Airport (KHRJ), Erwin, Harnett County, North Carolina




Friday was a picture-perfect day with warm weather and bright sunshine with slight wind gusts. Those slight wind gusts caused the ultralight piloted by 71-year-old Marshall Watkins of Raleigh to veer toward a group of trees. Mr. Watkins, a grandfather, tried to correct the path he was going, but ended up going down in Sawyer Field right next to Pierce Lane in Erwin. This stretch of airfield is not far from Harnett Regional Airport.

The crash call came in to the Harnett County 911 Center at 2:55 p.m. Mr. Watkins was pronounced dead at the scene.

Many pilots who fly into this field rushed out to see if they knew the pilot who had crashed. Jimmy Dorman, a fellow pilot, said, “It’s a bad situation and it had me worried to death when I heard that it might be some of my friends that hang around here and fly.” 

 Harnett County Sheriff’s Maj. Gary McNeill said witnesses said Mr. Watkins’ plane was hit by a gust of wind as he took off. He then tried to correct his path, but ended up going down.

Edie Pierce has lived on Pierce Lane for 32 years and said she has never witnessed a plane crash that ended with the loss of life.

“Most of the time pilots are able to get up and push their planes back to their storage area,” Mrs. Pierce said.

She was out running errands when she received an alert on her phone at 3:24 p.m., which informed her on the plane crash. Mrs. Pierce then received a text message from her daughter asking her if she was at home.

When she replied no, her daughter told her that she might want to get home that there had been a plane crash on her driveway.

Many of the residents who live along this road looked on in disbelief that something like this could happen.

Ricky Keeling, who had been flying since 1996, said that on a hot day like Friday it gives this type of aircraft a lot of thermal, which causes the aircraft to lift.

“Thermal can help or hurt you,” Mr. Keeling said.

He described this type of plane as fun, but it can also have the potential of danger. Mr. Keeling suggested he best time to fly this type of plane is early morning or late in the evening. He said during those times pilots do not have any wind.

Mr. Dorman said of flying an ultralight, “It’s like being a bird. You get in it and leave all your worries aside. You are free.”

Sawyer Field is a private airfield with a small hangar where ultralight aircraft are stored. 

Original article can be found here:  http://www.mydailyrecord.com



ERWIN, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Officials are investigating a small plane crash just east of Lillington that took the life of a Raleigh man. 

Pictures from Chopper 11 showed the ultralight aircraft down behind a home on Pierce Lane in the Erwin area.

Officials said the pilot - the only person on board - was killed.

He's been identified as 71-year-old Marshall Thomas Watkins.

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office said witnesses reported that the aircraft was taking off from a grassy private airstrip located next to Pierce Lane. 

It appeared to the witnesses that a gust of wind pushed the aircraft toward a group of trees near the runway, the aircraft made a sharp turn away from the trees and went down.

Story and video:   http://abc11.com

  



ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — A weight-shift control trike crash Friday in Harnett County has killed one person, authorities confirmed.

The crash happened near Pierce Lane in Erwin, officials said. More details were not immediately available.

Marshal Thomas Watkins, 71, of Raleigh was killed in the crash, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Witnesses stated that the aircraft was taking off from a grassy private airstrip located next to Pierce Lane,” the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “It appeared to the witnesses that a gust of wind pushed the aircraft toward a group of trees near the runway, the aircraft made a sharp turn away from the trees and went down.”

Story and video:  http://wncn.com




 ERWIN, N.C. — One person died when a weight-shift control trike crashed Friday afternoon near Harnett County JetPort at Pierce Lane.

71-year-old Marshall Thomas Watkins of Raleigh was piloting the craft and was the only person on board.

Maj. Gary McNeill of the Harnett County Sheriff's Office said witnesses saw Watkins' craft hit by a gust of wind as he took off. He tried to correct his path but ended up going down in a nearby field.

Jimmy Dorman, a fellow pilot, said, "It's a bad situation, and it had me worried to death when I heard that it might be some of my friends that hang around here and fly."

Dorman was among a number of pilots to converge on the airfield after the incident.

Story and video:  http://www.wral.com

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