Report: Pilot killed in crash couldn't check plane alignment

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT / AP) -- A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board says a South Carolina pilot killed in a North Carolina plane crash said he couldn't monitor the plane's orientation in regards to the horizon.

News outlets report 59-year-old pilot Gary Lee Huttleston told air traffic control that he had "lost his attitude indicator" just before radar contact and communication was lost.

The report released Monday says that Huttleston was flying a single-engine plane alone in March from Tennessee to South Carolina. It says the plane was on course to Aiken when Huttleston said he was no longer able to maintain course and attitude.

The plane disappeared from radar and Huttleston was found dead the next day near the wreckage south of Whiteside Mountain.

The plane was kept for further investigation.

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Officials say the pilot of single-engine plane that left a Knoxville airport Thursday died in a crash. The plane had been headed to South Carolina, but never made it there.

WRDW reported that the pilot, Gary Huttleston, has died in a crash. According to a release from the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad, there were no other passengers.

Recovery operations are underway with an investigation into the cause.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration's online database the Mooney M20C was registered to Huttleston.

The single-engine plane left Island Home airport Thursday just before 5:30 p.m. and was expected to arrive in Aiken, South Carolina around 7 p.m. but never made it there.

Huttleston's plane crashed near Cashiers, NC. search crews from Macon and Jackson Counties had been actively searching the area around Whiteside Mountain, in North Carolina, since 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

The Macon County Emergency Management Agency said the airforce was assisting in the search.