Local News

Small-plane crash is third for Wake County man

Posted April 28

— A Wake County man suffered minor injuries Sunday afternoon when the small plane he was piloting crashed into a wood line in Apex – his third such crash in as many years.

Bryan Henry Esterly, 74, was taking off from a private air strip when his Alon Aircoupe A2 crashed near westbound U.S. Highway 64 shortly after 5 p.m., according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Esterly was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. His 15-year-old grandson, Derrick Esterly, who was in the plane with him, was not hurt.

According to a preliminary investigation from the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine aircraft lost power on takeoff and crashed approximately 300 feet off the end of the runway.

Esterly had no comment Monday.

Sunday's crash was the third minor wreck involving Esterly, according to the FAA.

In August, Esterly was involved in a hard landing along the same air strip – a short, dirt runway. In that incident, authorities say, Esterly landed too fast, and the nose wheel struck a ditch, causing the plane to flip.

In May 2011, his plane nosed over when he applied the brakes, causing the plane to end upside down.

10 Comments

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  • Grand Union Apr 29, 2:15 p.m.

    "It's because they know more about the pilot's experience and abilities than we here guessing about them do - and they trust him, not only with their own lives because they fly with him too; they trust him with the most precious thing in their lives, their son's life."

    And they are clearly wrong to do so, so whats your point?. They guy is clearly not safe to be flying. Period. Best to stop him now before he kills himself and more importantly, anyone else.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Apr 28, 7:45 p.m.

    The FAA needs to revoke this guy's pilot license. This is strike three. Also, I can't believe... View More

    — Posted by Bogie

    -

    It's because they know more about the pilot's experience and abilities than we here guessing about them do - and they trust him, not only with their own lives because they fly with him too; they trust him with the most precious thing in their lives, their son's life.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Apr 28, 7:43 p.m.

    Understand - this is that this grass-covered airstrip that belongs to and is located within a private enclave of homes that have been there for decades. The homeowners have small planes that they fly often, sometimes even several times daily. So it's an odds game, i.e. the more you do something the higher your odds are of having a mishap.
    This guy lived there for decades, and has used that airstrip repeatedly through those years.
    That he's now retired means he has even more time to use it more often than most.
    This is an incident where the plane lost power; he's not to blame for that.
    The second incident was a hard landing; that was his fault.
    The first was caused by him applying the brakes which forced the plane's nose down and turned it over; that may have been his fault or it could have been a divot on the grassy airfield.
    The important thing to remember is, any plane crash one walks away from is a good one, and he's walked away from all of them which means he's a GOOD pilot.

  • BULLDOZER Apr 28, 7:23 p.m.

    This guy is dangerous because he is too old to be flying. Sorry.

  • Bogie Apr 28, 6:24 p.m.

    The FAA needs to revoke this guy's pilot license. This is strike three. Also, I can't believe the kid's parents let him fly with the grandfather after the first wreck!

  • Homeward Apr 28, 6:20 p.m.

    ... I should have clarified - the mandatory age is for commercial airline pilots, and apparently it's 65 now... (Sign me, Staying Grounded!)

  • Homeward Apr 28, 6:18 p.m.

    There's a reason the FAA retires most pilots at 60 or 65.... I can't understand the grandson's parents letting him ride with that old fella's track record!

  • rduwxboy Apr 28, 6:12 p.m.

    I don't think I would go for a joyride with Grandpa anymore.

  • vincentwilliam794 Apr 28, 6:09 p.m.

    I agree with WYTLYTN, good lance, this is the 3rd crash, and twice in the same spot. something tells me to stay away from this guy flying.. and why do family members allow him and their family to fly with this guy..time to give it up sir...

  • wytlytn Apr 28, 5:31 p.m.

    say what you will, but there is no way i would get in a plane with a 74 year old pilot, let alone one who has already had more than one crash....just saying :)