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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 with 2 Comments »
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 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.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. When I was an active pilot, I read an article about how on rare occasions a pilot’s seat adjustment can malfunction during take-off. In these cases, when the plane is pitched upward, the seat abruptly slides all the way back. The result is that the pilots hands, which are firmly attached to the yoke, get pulled back suddenly as well, pitching the plane up into a stall with no room to recover. This is a shame to see. General aviation is one of life’s great opportunities for total joy, although it’s become too expensive for us normal folk in recent years.

  2. Dubya, Had that happen to me on take-off one time. Fortunately I was in the passenger seat at that time and not in control of the aircraft. Seat slammed all the way back. Has only happen that once but its enough to double and triple check the front seats every time.

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