JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Fayetteville man was killed when the
aircraft he was piloting crashed near Benson Saturday afternoon.
Johnston County officials said Richard Leon Bronner, 33, had just put the aircraft together when he took it to a friend's house to fly it. The aircraft apparently experienced difficulty in-flight and crashed at about noon off Highway 55 in the Meadow community.
Witnesses called 911 after they saw the ultralight take off, but did not see it flying around.
Rescue crews found the wreckage in a wooded area off the road. Deputies said Bronner was already dead when crews found him.
"It's kind of critical once they go down because they have very little protection in these aircraft -- kind of an open, very open aircraft," an emergency worker said.
Deputies moved what was left of the aircraft out of the woods. The NTSB will look at the wreckage as part of its investigation.
The FAA does not investigate ultralight crashes because, at this time, ultralights do not have to be registered.
Ultralights are less than 257 pounds and hold less than 5 gallons of fuel.