North Carolina

Pilot in damaged plane was wearing helmet and mask when he crashed in NC, report says

A man was flying a damaged plane before he died in a North Carolina crash, officials say.

The pilot planned to go back into the air after the single-engine aircraft’s canopy separated from its framing on Oct. 12, the National Transportation Safety Board said in its preliminary report.

A canopy is a clear cover above the cockpit of some planes, including the Van’s RV-4 involved in the Moore County crash, according to Merriam-Webster.

Before the pilot headed toward Rooster Field Airport on Oct. 14, he told a friend the damaged plane “’flew alright’ without the canopy” and that he “would wear a motorcycle helmet with a facemask.”

Charles Grant Fitzgerald Jr., 66, was killed when the two-seater went down roughly 30 miles northwest of Fayetteville, reports ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

The crash happened during the daytime when skies were clear, the report says.

Wreckage was scattered across the woods near the towns of Cameron and Vass, The News & Observer reported at the time.

Officials in their report say it was an “experimental, amateur-built” aircraft and that a flight plan hadn’t been filed.

The plane was coming from Camden, South Carolina, and its last recorded location was about a quarter-mile from a runway, according to the NTSB.

The plane was built in 1992 and registered to Fitzgerald last year, according to transportation officials. It was last inspected in March 2018, the NTSB says.

Within 90 days of the crash, the pilot had logged seven hours, according to the report.

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