Cause found in crash of Wright Flyer replica

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Faulty welding caused engine failure that led to the 2011 crash of a Wright Brothers biplane replica that killed two volunteer pilots, federal investigators said in a report released this week.

The two experienced pilots died when the Wright “B” Flyer replica, dubbed “Silver Bird,” crashed during an emergency landing in a field about 3 miles from an airport in Springfield, where they had taken off on July 30, 2011. Springfield is about 45 miles west of Columbus.

The broken propeller-shaft weld led to the loss of the newly built Wright “B” Flyer’s left engine during the test flight, according to probable cause report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday. However, despite losing one of the two engines, the report said, the pilots “should have been able to maintain control of the airplane during the forced landing attempt.”

The report noted “incomplete weld penetration” that led to the failure of the joint and the loss of power to the propeller shaft.

The July 30, 2011, crash killed experienced pilots Don Gum, 73, of Beavercreek and Mitchell Cary, 64, of Yellow Springs. The men were members of Wright “B” Flyer Inc., an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that uses the planes to promote public awareness of Dayton as the birthplace of aviation.

The Dayton Daily News reported that both pilots were certified as commercial pilots and had more than 300 hours of combined flight time in the same make and model as the crashed airplane and more than 4,030 of total flight time.

Witnesses told federal investigators that the plane’s engine speed began to vary as it flew at a low altitude. “The airplane was then observed in a spiraling descent to the ground,” the NTSB report said.

The group’s website said its first Wright “B” Flyer “has been a flying ambassador of Dayton’s aviation heritage for more than 25 years.” Another non-flying model is on display near Dayton.

Wright “B” Flyer Inc. President Phil Beaudoin told The Dayton Daily News that the company’s management and board of directors were reviewing the probable cause report. The organization didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages Friday.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Man arrested after stolen car crashes in Everett

The accident occurred in the 100 block of SE Everett Mall Way.

5-vehicle crash in Arlington kills 62-year-old woman

Medics had transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

2 men hospitalized after rollover collision on U.S. 2

Two men were taken to the hospital with minor injuries… Continue reading

Marysville police serve a warrant — across the street from HQ

A man who fled was taken into custody. Police were serving a warrant for alleged drug-related crimes.

If vehicles crash and tumble, rescuers want to be ready

The Puyallup Extrication Team practiced with other fire departments on cars, SUVs and even buses.

Marysville man charged with stabbing wife who sought divorce

Nathan Bradford, 45, found divorce papers while going through the woman’s car.

Most Read