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

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

This week’s Herald Super Kid is Nathan Nicholson of Snohomish High School. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
‘The future is biotech,’ but for now he’s busy with everything

Snohomish senior Nathan Nicholson is a student leader and media master.

Most Read