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Pilot killed in crash south of Graham identified

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on July 30, 2010 at 7:56 am |
July 30, 2010 10:37 am

The pilot who was killed Thursday afternoon when a small plane crashed after taking off from the Kapowsin Field Airport south of Graham has been identified.

Robert James McDonald, 75, was from Puyallup, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office reported this morning.

McDonald and another man were aboard a small plane Thursday. They took off from the Kapowsin airstrip.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane stall in the air, take a hard right and crash into a large pasture about 300 yards from the end of the runway about 12:45 p.m. McDonald died at the scene from his injuries.

Paramedics took his passenger to Tacoma General Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

UPDATE: The men were flying in a Zodiac CH 601 XL, an experimental and homemade plane. Kits can be purchased to put together the aircraft.

The NTSB asked the FAA to ground the plane model last year because of “flight control design issues,” according to an article on www.flightglobal.com. The design issues made the place susceptible to flutter – a “phenomena where the control surfaces of the airplane can suddenly vibrate, and if unmitigated, can lead to catastrophic structural failure,” the article stated.

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