Plane from Chesapeake strikes, kills jogger on S.C. beach

March 17th, 2010 by – For pilot Rich Dodson, news about a plane crash always hits close to home. Even more so this time because the pilot behind the wheel of the experimental plane is his long time friend, Ed Smith of Chesapeake.

Smith was on his way back to Virginia when his plane had problems. Hilton Head fire officials say the propeller flew off the plane and Smith had to make an emergency landing – crashing on the beach and killing Robert Jones who was jogging.

Jones was in South Carolina for business. His mother says he was headed back to Georgia to celebrate his daughter’s third birthday.

Dodson says he can’t explain why this malfunction happened, but he believes Smith’s experience as a pilot should have kicked in. Dodson says Smith has had at least six years of flight training.

“Like riding a motorcycle or boating or any other hobby there are risks, we try to mitigate those risks and minimize them, but it’s just unfortunate things like this do happen,” Dodson said.

Dodson also defends the type of plane Smith was in.

Though it was put together by Smith, Dodson says like all experimental amateur-built planes, they too have to pass the same safety requirements as other types of aircrafts.

“You pay a lot of attention to when you’re building something you know is going to carry you and your loved ones, so we put a lot of time and effort to make sure we got it right.”

Tonight as the FAA and the NTSB continue their investigation, Dodson says their thoughts are with both the Jones family and the Smiths.

Smith had a passenger in the plane with him when it crashed. Neither person was hurt. Dodson says he believes Smith will be back in Virginia within the next few days.


One Response

  1. jimmy

    Lucky day huh!

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