Plane Crash Update

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

December 11, 2006

A recreational flight from Chesterfield to Charlottesville Sunday, gone horribly wrong. With 51-year-old Christopher Desch behind the controls, the single-engine Piper plane crashed, erupting in a blaze.
Monday members of the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board sifted through the remaining wreckage

"The engine is going to be taken over to the airport to a hanger where they'll go over it and check it and see if they can determine any technical problems," Sgt. David Cooper of Virginia State Police said.

The NTSB say technical problems appear to be at the origin of the crash, but with the majority of the plane destroyed in the fire, examining the safety of the 30-year-old plane will be quite a task.

"They'll look at the mechanical parts of it, maybe the history of service and work that was done on the plane, last time it was serviced, last time it was worked on," Sgt. Cooper continued.

Though a conclusive investigation will take anywhere from six to nine months, engine failure does appear to be the cause, based on both an initial engine examination and the pilot's last words with CHO control towers.

"His last words to the tower were I'm not going to make it and he was right, and I think it was pretty sudden, I don't believe he suffered at all," Pegasus Flight Nurse, Scott Single said.

Although it will take a while for that conclusive report, Virginia State Police say their preliminary investigation should be wrapped up by the end of this week.

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