By Michael Kanell | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Three Peachtree City men died when a small plane crashed Saturday afternoon at LaGrange Callaway Airport in LaGrange, GA.
The plane, a Beechcraft Baron twin-engine, went down about 14:07 pm, killing Vincent Michael Rossetti, 60, Willy Lutz, 69 and Jeffery Van Curtis, 53.
Two men died at the scene, Lt Chris Taylor with the LaGrange Fire Department officials said in an emailed statement. Another man was flown to Columbus Medical Center, where he died.
Bill Flynn, a friend of all three men, spoke with Channel 2 Action News on Sunday of behalf of the Rossetti and Curtis families. He said his friends were taking care of routine training requirements when the crash occurred.
“They just loved flying … and they were best of buddies,” Flynn said.
Rossetti was the CEO of Ravin Homes, Curtis was a family physician, according to Channel 2. Lutz was a flight instructor and retired Delta flight instructor as well, according to a family member.
“These guys were well known by everybody, well respected … very involved,” Flynn said.
The plane, which took off from Panama City, FL, arrived at the LaGrange airport about 10:45 am Saturday and was refueled, Channel 2 reported.
According to witnesses, the plane was practicing some maneuvers when it suddenly had to avoid a [Civil Air Patrol] glider.
After that move, the plane went into a deadly nose-dive, according to the report.
The plane, which was manufactured in 1980, was registered to Executive Aircraft Storage LLC of Peachtree City, according to online Federal Aviation Administration records. The FAA was investigating the crash, agency spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.
The National Transportation Safety Board arrived Sunday to continue the investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined probable cause(s) of this accident:
• The pilot’s overreaction to a perceived conflict with a [Civil Air Patrol] tow plane and [Civil Air Patrol] glider on an intersecting runway, which resulted in a loss of control during an attempted aborted landing.
•Contributing to the accident was the failure of the [Civil Air Patrol] glider tow operator to follow and the airport operator to ensure compliance with published airport rules and regulations for glider tow operations.
The Actual Ray Hayden… We have more information. I want to look over the long court order in regard to the 12 million dollar judgment involved with this incident. I have a Pacer account, but I don’t want to spend money for the report, so if someone has the actual court ruling (not the one page deal, the LONG version), I would love to read it over for a number of reasons!
CAP Insights will likely make an additional posting in regard to a number of issues around this series of incidents in Georgia Wing.
Ray Hayden recently posted a contribution “from the field” on the Lagrange crash of 2014, but that report omitted two key items.
1. CAP was partly to blame for not following Lagrange Airport rules and regulations by not having a spotter and not issuing a NOTAM for Glider Operations that day.
2. CAP had to pack up Glider Ops at Lagrange and go to Roosevelt Field in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Ray, if you are still actively reading here are you aware of this? Here is the omitted text:
In its final report, published 09/29/2015, the NTSB stated that:
“The Civil Air Patrol Flight Instructor in the glider at the time of the accident stated he was “unaware” of the additional rules at LGC with regards to glider operations, and was also unaware of the rule that required a spotter. He added that the airport authority had never corrected glider operators for not placing spotters during glider operations.
All three CAP pilots involved in the glider operation at the time of the accident had current CAP Flight Evaluation Forms completed with satisfactory results. The areas evaluated included, ‘Local Procedures’ as well as ‘Surface and Traffic Pattern Operations.’”
Ray has that verbiage in his report from the field, he just didn’t end the entry with the Civil Air Patrol part of the NTSB Probable Cause.
Ray placed the information regarding CAP above the paragraph titled WRECKAGE INFORMATION.
At the time of the accident, no NOTAM was posted with regard to the glider operations, and no “agent” or spotter from the glider activity was posted as outlined in the published airport regulations. Furthermore, airport staff had not ensured that the requirements were met prior to commencement of glider operations, as outlined in their airport regulations.
The flight instructor in the glider at the time of the accident stated he was “unaware” of the additional rules at LGC with regards to glider operations, and was also unaware of the rule that required a spotter. He added that the airport authority had never corrected glider operators for not placing spotters during glider operations.
All three CAP pilots involved in the glider operation at the time of the accident had current CAP Flight Evaluation Forms completed with satisfactory results. The areas evaluated included, “Local Procedures” as well as “Surface and Traffic Pattern Operations.”