Watch CBS News

Piecing Together a Fatal Plane Crash

LAYTONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)-- Aviation investigators are working to determine what caused a plane crash that killed an experienced pilot in Montgomery county last night.

A team of federal investigators swarmed Davis Airport in Laytonsville to search for the cause of a fiery plane crash that killed 78-year-old William Hughes. He was a mechanic who had been working on the aircraft for a flying club, according to Brian Rayner with the National Traffic Safety Board.

"The airplane was here for routine, scheduled maintenance," said Rayner.

After finishing his work, Hughes got in the cockpit to deliver the plane back to an airport only four miles away. He had only made it a half mile before there was engine trouble.

"It was reported preliminary that the pilot reported a loss of engine power prior to the airplane departing controlled flight," said Rayner.

The plane came crashing down in this field less than a mile from the airport. Pete Piringer, with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, was there.

"Pretty significant damage, catastrophic damage if you will. It was on fire. There was not much of a debris field or fire spread," said Piringer.

Hughes, who had more than 1,000 flying hours and belonged to several flying clubs, did not survive. Investigators are now piecing together what went wrong in his final moments.

The NTSB says a civil air patrol doing a training exercise actually witnessed the crash and they'll be interviewed soon as part of the investigation.

A friend of William Hughes tells WJZ he was a retired Montgomery County math teacher who enjoyed fixing planes in his spare time.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.