Preliminary report released on fatal plane crash

Preliminary report released on fatal plane crash

By Heather Michon, correspondent

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report on the Nov. 4 plane crash in Louisa that took the life of Timothy Henson, 70, of Palmyra.

According to the Nov. 9 report, the airport manager at Louisa County Airport saw Henson’s plane take off around 2:15 p.m. The crash took place around 3 p.m. about a mile from the airport in a field on Chalklevel Road. The field is adjacent to a solar farm that pilots use as a visual checkpoint as they approach the primary runway in use that day.

Weather conditions at the time of the crash were good, with a temperature of around 57 degrees, light winds, scattered clouds, and high visibility.

Henson was flying a Titan Tornado 1. Called an “experimental” plane under Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) rules, the Tornado has been in production since 1994. The experimental designation is often given to planes built from kits by amateur pilots.

Henson’s plane was built in 2016 and had logged 244 hours in the air. It was last inspected in March. Henson had a sport pilot certificate and had logged 636 hours in the air, 48 of them in the Tornado.

Investigators found the Tornado lying on its right side with no debris field and no signs of fire or explosion. There was fuel in the tank and the engine appeared undamaged. The right wing and the cockpit sustained most of the impact.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation from both the NTSB and FAA. The NTSB noted in its report that the engine has been retained for examination and a possible test run, and the GPS will be examined for flight data.

It may be several months before both agencies make their final reports.

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