NTSB report regarding plane crash says instructor not certified

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photo by Brett Martin www.brettervideo.com Videographer Brett Martin is on scene at the airport where a Cessna nose dived after struggling to gain altitude on take-off.


Emergency crews responded to a single-engine Cessna 150M plane crash at Mount Pleasant Regional Airport Thursday, Aug. 14 in Mount Pleasant, resulting in two fatalities.

An NTSB report on the crash of the Cessna 150M was released this week.

It says that the plane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Mount Pleasant Regional Airport-Faison Field (LRO). The commercial-rated pilot and non-pilot-rated student, Matt Gaither, 20, of Johns Island, were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Hanger Aviation, Inc. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot, 33-year-old Graham Borland, held a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating for single- and multi-engine land. The pilot held a first-class medical certificate which was issued on May 25, 2011, at which time he reported 275 total flight hours. A review of FAA records revealed that the pilot did not hold a flight instructor certificate.

According to a witness, the airplane began its takeoff roll on runway 35 with “40 degrees of flaps.” Multiple witnesses stated that the airplane lifted off the ground about midfield and that it “immediately looked unstable.” A witness added that the wings were banking to the right and left. When the airplane reached an altitude about 100 feet above ground level, it entered a continuous left turn and subsequently rolled wings level on a westerly heading. The airplane then entered a nose-down attitude followed by a right-wing low attitude and was in a “straight downward dive” when it impacted the ground.

The airplane impacted a field of sparse vegetation about 1,100 feet northwest of the departure end of runway 35. The airplane came to rest in a near vertical, nose-down, position and was orientated on a 310-degree heading. All major components of the aircraft were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point was about 3 feet forward of the main wreckage. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited leading edge crush damage that spanned the entire length of each wing. Flight control continuity was confirmed for all control surfaces from the cockpit. The wing flaps remained attached to their respective wings and the flap actuator jack screw position was consistent with a flaps retracted setting. The ailerons remained attached to their respective wing attach points and exhibited some compression wrinkling and denting. No damage was noted on the elevator and rudder control surfaces. The elevator trim tab was found in the neutral position. Both propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub and displayed some chordwise scratching along the span of both blades.

According to witness, Joe Bustos, a pilot, he watched the plane struggling to get into the air. Bustos said the pilot turned around to come back and the plane nose-dived into the ground.


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