July 11, 2006
Audio tapes released on Tuesday painted a picture of the moments before and immediately after an Albemarle County plane crash that took the lives of two people.
The chilling final words from the pilot and a neighbor’s frantic call to 911--both tapes were just released and now they may shed some light on exactly what happened that fateful morning in June.
Air Traffic Control: "Two zero two echo November, the airport is 12:00 and about 2 miles."
Brown: "Roger, it is a little too cloudy at the moment."
Just minutes before his plane crashes pilot David Brown radios air traffic control. He's cleared to land on the tiny Bundoran airstrip in North Garden.
Air Traffic Control: "Two zero two echo November is looking for the airport which is right in front of him around a half a mile now."
Brown: "Roger, Can you get me any lower or is this it?"
Air Traffic Control: "That's as low as I can give you."
Hovering at 4,000 feet Brown indicates he sees the 10 foot airstrip.
Brown: "Actually the field is directly under me if I could spiral down."
The experienced pilot and his passenger Robert Baldwin have made the landing many times before but never in bad weather.
Brown: "Roger two echo November, I'm not going to give up yet."
"I'm not going to give up yet," Brown's last words to air traffic control.
Whether the plane then stalled and spun out of control the NTSB has not determined. They do say the plane went down around 11:14 a.m. and that's when a neighbor called 911.
911 Dispatcher: "911 can I help you?"
Caller: "Yes, Ma’am, there is an airplane that just crashed over in this field, Farmer's field over here."
911: "What's the address?"
Caller: "Umm, we live on Plank Road. It's before the first house. It's right there in the field."
911: Okay, how big an airplane was it?"
Caller: "I don't know. We just heard it flying and now we see smoke. My husband just rode down there in our car."
911: "All right. I'll get somebody out there. If you get any more information can you give us a call please."
Caller: "Oh please send somebody quick!"
911: "I'll send police, fire and rescue down there."
Caller: "Thank you."
The NTSB, in their preliminary report, say they found a hole in the ground with the planes propeller blades, an indication that the plane went down nose first and probably at a high rate of speed.
It may be a year before the NTSB releases its final report on the crash.