DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —
Federal investigators will start piecing together wreckage Sunday from a plane crash that killed the pilot.
The accident happened during an air show at The DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Saturday afternoon.
The acrobatic plane went down during a dive in an infield area between two runways, and killed Greg Connell.
Connell’s plane is described as a “wolfpitts” custom-built aerobatic biplane that is high powered and incredibly agile.
Channel 2 Action News spoke over the phone to fellow pilot and a close friend who was in the air at the time with Connell and said he didn’t hear any calls of distress over the radio or know he was in trouble.
“Something didn’t go exactly according to plan so I pulled up to deconflict and Greg flew underneath me,” friend Gary Ward said. “And I had no idea that Greg had crashed like a second later.”
Connell’s flight instructor Bob Smith spoke with Channel 2’s Matt Johnson.
Smith says he taught Connell how to fly in Augusta 27 years ago.
“He had the psyche, the desire to be one of a kind,” Smith said.
Smith told Johnson his heart dropped when he saw video of the crash posted on social media.
Smith says there are clues as to what may have went wrong starting with how low Connell was to the ground before making the loop.
“He kind of made a downward pitch to pick up air speed right at the end there, but he was really too close to the ground to get enough air speed to make the complete loop,” Smith said. “He got almost to the top of the loop and his airspeed let off so bad that I think he lost control and that the plane stalled.
The wreckage and crash site were documented by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB moved the plane to a facility down in Griffin to continue their investigation Sunday.
They will look at the plane, the pilot and conditions.
The weather was good Saturday afternoon, but there were high winds reported with gusts around that time topping 30 mph.
The full investigation could take up to a year to complete.