The pilot of a single-engine plane was alert and walking around the aircraft in a subdivision when State Highway Patrol troopers found him early Friday after the plane disappeared from controllers’ radar screens at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Granville County Sheriff Brindell B. Wilkins Jr. said the pilot suffered cuts on the back of his head and was taken to Duke University Hospital in Durham by Granville EMS.
The plane had clipped the top of a tree and stopped near a house in the Hawthorne subdivision off Bruce Garner Road, Wilkins said.
Most people in the neighborhood, including those in the closest house, heard nothing, Wilkins said.
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The website FlightAware.com showed the Cessna 150 had left Bowman Field in Louisville, Ky., about 6:15 p.m. Thursday and was headed to Elizabeth City. FlightAware gathers data from the federal flight control system.
The plane was in touch with Federal Aviation Administration regional control centers along its path and was at about 11,200 feet and descending when it last had contact with controllers at RDU about 11:30 p.m.
Kathleen Bergen, an FAA spokeswoman in Atlanta, said records showed the pilot reported a problem with engine power.
The tower contacted local officials and gave them the plane’s approximate location when it went off radar, and a ground search by state troopers and sheriff’s deputies started.
The subdivision where the plane landed is southeast of Creedmoor, near the Wake County line, and northeast of Falls Lake.
FAA online records show that the Cessna, manufactured in 1971 and last given a 15-year certification in 2002, is owned by a man from Stevensville, Mont. Authorities have not released the name of the pilot.
The incident was assigned to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, NTSB officials in Washington said.