Moments later the plane, piloted by Roy Russom of Calhoun, crashed into trees near the Tom B. David Airport and burst into flames. Russom died as the result of blunt force trauma sustained during the crash, according to Gordon County Deputy Coroner Bo Nicholson.
This week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the crash.
The report read, in part: “According to a responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, witnesses reported that the airplane took off from runway 17 with engine sounds, ground roll and departure all ‘normal.’
“Then, about 300 feet above ground level, the airplane began a slow roll to the right, reaching about 90 degrees angle of bank and 60 degrees nose-down when it descended into trees heading about 300 degrees magnetic.”
The report went on to say that the plane first crashed into a tree about 50 feet off the ground, “in the vicinity of 34 degrees, 27.03 minutes north latitude, 084 degrees, 55.83 minutes west longitude. The wreckage path angle of decent was about 60 degrees, heading approximately 290 degrees.”
According to the report, “throttle and mixture were at full power positions and the carburetor heat control was found in the full cold position. Flight control continuity was confirmed, but with numerous flight control surfaces separated from the cockpit controls, consistent with impact overload.”
Russom was piloting an “experimental amateur-built Hummel H5, N156FH,” which had acquired a total of 3.8 hours of total flight time “as part of its initial Phase I operating limitations for an amateur-built aircraft,” according to the report.
The NTSB said the report is still in preliminary stages and is subject to change as new information surfaces.