Flight instructor weighs in on cause of fatal crash in McClellanville

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - More details are expected as to what caused a plane to crash in McClellanville on June 20th, killing two men. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot was on an instructional flight to keep his license up.

The National Transportation Safety Board says this twin engine plane went down, leaving a wreckage path almost 300 feet long.

"It appears that it came through the trees at approximately a 45 degree angle to the ground, which is steep," explained Ralph Hicks, the NTSB investigator on site.

Investigators say 44-year-old Patrick Eudy and 69-year-old Robert Ulrich took off from Johns Island for a flight review. A friend of Eudy's says he wanted to maintain his pilot's license. Flight instructor, Joe Bustos, says while a pilot's license doesn't expire, pilots must remain current to fly with passengers.

"To be current, during the daylight hours, you have to do three take-offs and three landings every 90 days."

He says flight reviews, which include a skill and safety check, must be done every two years.

According to the NTSB, the pilots requested "maneuvering airspace for airwork." Bustos says what that means is they may have been practicing steep turns and stalls, both common in a flight review.

"These are maneuvers that every pilot has to be able to do a flight cruise at altitude and come down close to the ground and maneuver their plane on to the ground."

Federal investigators say it was shortly after the request that the air traffic controller lost contact with the plane.

"There are distractions and doing maneuvers as I understand the pilot was, control could have been lost during a maneuver."

While Bustos says he didn't know the two men personally, he says this kind of news is always devastating.

"It affects every aviator and, of course, every aviator, strives for safety. That's paramount in what we do."

The wreckage remains at the NTSB headquarters in Atlanta.