Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Robert R. Gray Jr: Pilot with prosthetic leg pleads guilty to flying without license; Piper PA-28-180, N2814T, accident occurred July 22, 2017 at Umphlett Airstrip (VG37), Whaleyville, Suffolk, Virginia

NORFOLK --  The first time federal investigators questioned the Suffolk airplane enthusiast about flying without a license, he claimed he’d done nothing wrong.

The second time, Robert R. Gray Jr. confessed to flying a plane but said he thought it was allowed because he was with a licensed instructor. He promised not to do it again.

Gray’s third time didn’t end well. The man with one leg crashed a single-engine plane. He blamed it on his prosthetic.

Gray, 55, pleaded guilty Tuesday to flying without a license. He is set to be sentenced March 23 in U.S. District Court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Kosky and defense attorney Robert Rigney declined to comment on the case.

Gray, who uses a walker and scooter, has spent about 40 years around airplanes, sometimes buying and selling used aircraft, according to court documents. In all that time, however, he has never secured an airman’s license.

At one time, he held a student pilot certificate, but that license expired, the documents said. Gray’s prosthetic leg and other unspecified medical conditions disqualify him from ever holding an airman’s certificate.

Rumors started circulating in October 2016 that Gray was flying without a license, the documents said. Following up on a tip, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched an investigation. Gray denied the allegations, claiming the people spreading the rumors were simply jealous.

Federal investigators came knocking again in June to inquire about another incident. That time, Gray acknowledged flying without a license, but claimed he was with a licensed instructor, documents said. He said he thought it was legal, and the Federal Aviation Administration let him off with a warning.

A month later, Gray was involved in a crash at Umphlett Airstrip in Suffolk that left his 1972 Piper aircraft with a damaged right wing, landing gear and nose cone. As the plane came in for a landing July 22, it pulled to the right, hit a bump, did a 180-degree turn and struck several small trees.

When police arrived at the crash scene, Gray – who was uninjured – initially denied flying the aircraft, documents said. He claimed the real pilot was missing.

Police started searching for the missing pilot before Gray confessed he was lying, documents said. He claimed he had recently sold the aircraft and decided to fly it one more time before turning it over to the buyer.

A few days after the crash, Gray spoke with an FAA safety inspector about the crash. He took responsibility for it, explaining he had no feeling on his right side, documents said.

He suggested his prosthetic leg became stuck on the brake, causing it to spin out, documents said.

And according to the government’s statement of facts: “Gray further stated that he had no business flying the plane that day as he can barely drive a car.”

Story and photos ➤ https://pilotonline.com

Piper PA-28-180, N2814T: Accident occurred July 22, 2017 at Umphlett Airstrip (VG37), Whaleyville, Suffolk, Virginia 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA430
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 22, 2017 in Whaleyville, VA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N2814T

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Aircraft on landing, went off the runway, into a ditch and struck a tree.

Date: 22-JUL-17
Time: 19:58:00Z
Regis#: N2814T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia State Police and Suffolk Fire & Rescue responded to a plane crash in Suffolk Saturday night.

According to Virginia State Police, the call came in at 7:58 p.m. for a fixed wing single engine Piper aircraft that crashed in a field near the intersection of Cherrygrove Road and Greenway Road.

Police say the pilot was attempting to land on a grass runway and lost control, causing the plane to go off the runway and crash into hit several trees. He left the scene to call police and report the crash. 10 On Your Side has learned that he was a student pilot.

Tim Kelley with the City of Suffolk says no injuries were reported. The FAA was notified of the crash.

Story and video ➤ http://wavy.com

SUFFOLK, Va. - Virginia State Police and Suffolk Fire & Rescue responded to a plane crash Saturday night.

According to Virginia State Police, a Piper PA-28-180 aircraft crashed near the intersection of South Cherrygrove Road and Greenway Road in Suffolk.

The call for the plane crash came in just before 8 p.m.

Troopers report the plane has been located in an open field off Cherrygrove Road and Greenway Road and the pilot is no longer on scene.

Tim Kelley with the City of Suffolk says no injuries were reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified.

Story and video:  http://wtkr.com

A plane crash has reportedly crashed in North Suffolk, according to dispatchers.

Dispatchers confirmed that they had gotten a call shortly before 8 p.m. about a plane crashing near the 1500 block of Cherry Grove Road, near the city line with Isle of Wight County.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Anaya said in an email that the aircraft was a single-engine Piper, a small propeller plane.

Anaya said the plane was found in an open field near the intersection of Cherry Grove Road and Greenway Road and that the pilot was no longer on the scene.

City of Suffolk public information officer Tim Kelley confirmed that no injuries were reported.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://pilotonline.com


Robert R Gray Jr said...

The only reason the pilot left the scene was to call authorities on his cell phone due to that area had no cell phone signal and he drove 2 miles down the road until signal was strong enough to make the necessary phone call to officials. The pilot was away from the scene for a total of 5 minutes just in order to make the required phone call to officials.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like his defense didn't have a leg to stand on....