Local News

Small plane crashes in Nash County

Posted June 23, 2011

— A pilot was hospitalized Thursday after his single-engine plane crashed near the Nash County town of Red Oak, authorities said.

The plane, a 60-year-old Navion B, went down in some woods about 700 yards off N.C. Highway 43, about 2 miles north of Red Oak shortly after noon, authorities said.

The pilot, Von Shanks, 81, of Red Oak, who also owns the plane, was taken to Nash General Hospital and was later transferred to Pitt County Memorial Hospital for treatment, authorities said. He was listed in critical condition.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were en route from Greensboro to try to determine the cause of the crash.


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  • Tug Boat II Jun 24, 2011

    Nanasix “There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old bold pilots”. That not just a saying, there is a lot of truth behind it. Many years ago when I was a young pilot my instructor told me that you start out with a big bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill that bag of experience before the bag of luck runs out. I have also learned through the years that most (not all) pilots who get between 300 to 700 hours of experience have a false sense of experience. They believe that even the Good Lord will not change the weather without consulting them first. That is why you find them sticking out of the sides of mountains. So when it comes down to age, I understand what you’re saying but please understand that age is not the only criteria that the FAA uses to determine your ability to fly.

  • sokersis Jun 24, 2011

    Nanasix; I know this family personally and have since I was a child. Mr. Shanks is an incredible man who has been flying forever and is still quite capabile of it even at 81. So I agree with everyone else up here, be really careful what you say because his family, friends, and community read these comments and ones like you made are really offensive. Instead of being rude you might want to try sending prayers to the family.

  • DaisyMae Jun 24, 2011

    Age is just a number......was a not a factor and should not be considered a factor in this unfortunate incident.

  • jbarron4950 Jun 24, 2011

    In 2001, the FAA renewed my father's pilot license at the age of 81. He continued to fly until he passed away at the age of 86. He also continued to drive and did an excellent job of that. I would personally feel safer with an older pilot as opposed to some 20 year old hot shot. And that includes on the roads and highways as well. How many 70 and 80 year olds have heard about recently who have died in car crashes doing something that they should not have been doing in the first place?

  • CarolinaGirlRJA Jun 24, 2011

    nanasix, seriously? I've seen 81 year olds in better shape than obese lazy 20 year olds. There are plenty of senior citizens that are still kickin' like a chicken'. Who are you to generalize a generation as to what they should or shouldn't be capable of just because of their age? Having a pilots license isn't about your age, it's about having the knowledge and ability to fly a plane safely and securely. Do you think somebody who is 81 shouldn't be able to have a drivers license either? What are they supposed to do...just shut down and not live their life because of their age. Shame on you to pass judgement on somebody for their age. And shame on you for "I pray for this family" yet you still want to insult the pilot. You don't know him so you don't know his capabilities. I personally know seasoned Pilot's who are in their 60's and they still fly planes in Smithfield. They're great at what they do and enjoy it. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  • warbirdlover Jun 24, 2011

    What does age have to do with it. He had a mechanical failure, and the aircraft stalled, or to the non aviation folks out there. "A stall is when the wing quits making lift, this can happen for many reasons. Engine failure at takeoff, Too slow of speed, extreme angle of attack, ice on the wings." I know many older pilots in their 70's & 80's who are the safest pilots in the world. I would rather fly with them than some 20 something pilot with less than 500 hrs of flight time.

  • hjandrj Jun 23, 2011

    He did not have a medical condition or pass out. The engine stalled on takeoff. His son watched it and called 911.

  • hjandrj Jun 23, 2011

    Nana, he has just as much right to fly a plane as a 16-year-old has getting a driver's license. What the story doesn't tell you is, something happened to the engine while taking off. It also doesn't tell you his son was watching him take off and crash and his son having to call 911. It's not like he fell asleep piloting the plane or passed out due to a medical condition. People need to be mindful of what is said up here because their family members and community do read these comments. He is a good man, with a great family and prayers are needed more than unnecessary comments.

  • Godschild43 Jun 23, 2011

    Praying for a quick recovery.Praying for his family.

  • nanasix Jun 23, 2011

    I pray for his family and hope he will recover, but question why a man 81 years old would be allowed to have a pilots license? Isn't there any one out there with any common sense anymore? There needs to be an age limit on anyone allowed to have a pilots license to protect the public.