Local News

NTSB: Pilot Had Filed No Plan Before Clayton Crash

Posted October 10, 2007

— A preliminary report on a plane crash in Clayton last month shows the pilot didn't file a flight plan before taking off in acceptable weather conditions.

Garry Stephen Reid, of Galivants Ferry, S.C., died Sept. 21 when his single-engine 1947 North American Navion crashed into the front of McCall's BBQ and Seafood restaurant, at 10365 U.S. Highway 70 West. Reid was headed for Culpeper, Va., officials said. Clayton police said he had moved from Virginia to South Carolina.

No one else was injured in the crash, which occurred about an hour before the popular restaurant was scheduled to open for lunch.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash, the agency said. But in a preliminary report released Wednesday, the NTSB said Reid didn't file a flight plan when he left the Conway-Horry County Airport in South Carolina about an hour before the crash, and he never contacted any air traffic control operators during the flight.

The section of Federal Aviation Administration ruled cited by the NTSB does not require a flight plan for a personal flight under visual flight rules, which conditions in Horry County allowed when Reid took off.

Witnesses said the plane banked as it approached 40-foot-high power lines, but a preliminary examination of the crash site showed no damage to the power lines, the report said. The McCall's parking lot had five scars almost 134 feet from the power lines, the report said.

The plane came to rest upside-down inside the restaurant, the engine separated from the fuselage and the propeller broke off from the engine, the report said. One of the three propeller blades ended up in a neighborhood about 280 feet from the restaurant, the report said.

The owners of McCall's said they plan to rebuild and hope to reopen by next spring.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • jjohnson51 Oct 12, 2007

    I'm surprised that reporters don't get more of an education on the subjects on which they're reporting. I agree with several previous comments, mainly that a flight plan would have made no difference in this crash. That piece of paper will not keep a plane in the air. Of course, under IFR, it would have been different, but this was a VFR flight. As to those who think a flight plan should always be requiered, would you like it if you had to call the Highway Patrol every time you left your driveway to go to the grocery store and tell them the details of your trip? The Air Traffic Control system couldn't handle that volume even if it wanted to. It is perfectly legal and safe to fly without Air Traffic Control in uncontrolled airspace, with the addition of just a little common sense and judgement. I've done it for 3000 flying hours.

  • Travised Oct 11, 2007

    The other issue with GPS is ONLY IF you have upgraded your craft will you have GPS Nav, and only if the airport upgraded will it have GPS approach. Not that many airports except high traffic have GPS.

    Out in Golf airspace (uncontrolled) we do lake jumping. All that means is we need to be 500 feet above any man made object; or in the rural cities we fly a little higher until we get over the fields. We have cell towers that are higher than us at times and this is fully legal. One thing we do make sure we do is there are a few airports in the region, and when we are heading from one to the other we announce where we are and our bearing.

    Every now and then you'll catch a friend in the air and get jabbering on pilot to pilot channel.

  • ratnix Oct 11, 2007

    "What is the maintained altitude for that area?"

    Whatever one wants it to be! :)

    The rules are, if you're not taking off/landing, you MUST be over 500'. If it's congested (people/buildings), you MUST be over 1000' above the highest obstruction. There's also the rule that says "enough distance to allow a safe emergency landing", but that's a judgement call, so, let's stick to absolutes.

    So, without talking to ATC, dude could have been flying from 1000' AGL(above ground level) to 17,500' MSL(Mean Sea Level), and still been perfectly legal.

    Side note: EVERY SINGLE RULE in flying may be tossed out the window in an in-flight emergency. You might have to explain yourself once you get down, and you may never be allowed up again, but, there you go. (Cite: 14 CFR 91.3)

  • FromClayton Oct 11, 2007

    Not until Spring? I'm sorry a man lost his life and all, but they can't open until Spring? I miss my BBQ...

  • shine Oct 11, 2007

    What is the maintained altitude for that area?

  • ratnix Oct 11, 2007

    "Is that legal? And if so, why???"

    You can happily operate a plane without ever contacting ATC... if you follow the rules. The rules being: don't go above 18K feet, and don't go within X miles of towered airspace, where X varies depending on your altitude and the size of the airport. For example, Kinston has a 5 mile ring around it. RDU has a 5 mile ring, but also a 10 mile ring between (working from memory, don't have a current chart) 1700' and 4400'. Charlotte is even bigger, with a 20 mile ring at some altitudes.

    Remember, it's a biiiig country, and a lot of sky over it. One of the joys of flying a private plane is that you can take this kind of 'Sunday drive', and plot a path to take you away from the major airports and not HAVE to listen to the radio. But you can call up, say, Atlanta Center, when you're in the middle of nowhere and they'll advise you, workload permitting.

    This pilot chose to go Peaceful-but-Risky. But no amount of ATC talk would've kept the plane aloft.

  • mluddysr Oct 11, 2007

    I love how the press acts as if filing a flight plan would keep a light airplane airborne.

    Flight plans are obselete today with modern GPS and radio systems. A flight plan is only useful to help locate downed planes. It provides the FSS a track of where the pilot expected to fly, and when he expected the flight to terminate.

  • CarZin Oct 11, 2007

    Wow, it took them a month to find this out? The day it happened, I checked for an IFR flightplan. Nothing... And although its possible he could technically get away with scud running, the entire area was under what most would call 'IFR' conditions. It was irresponsible for him to be flying in those conditions without an IFR flightplan. Of course, I am not even sure if that plane was IFR certified...

  • Adelinthe Oct 11, 2007

    "...Reid didn't file a flight plan when he left the Conway-Horry County Airport in South Carolina about an hour before the crash, and he never contacted any air traffic control operators during the flight."

    Is that legal? And if so, why???

    Praying for his loved ones.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • packandcanesfan Oct 11, 2007

    I am sorry that the pilot was lost in the crash but this could have been a major disaster had it been lunch time. Very scary to think about.