Report: Plane ‘just took off’ before crashing in Franklin County

March 14, 2019

A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report explained what led up to a plane crash March 1 that killed all three people on board.

The plane, a Cessna 182S, took off from Triangle North Executive Airport at 7:20 p.m. One minute later, it crashed to the ground.

Radar data showed the plane fell at 6,000 feet per minute, according to the report.

At 6:19 p.m., the pilot received a weather briefing that detailed severe turbulence and low visibility.

Witnesses told investigators they were surprised the plane took off, saying there were “low clouds and a lot of rain. Made you wonder: who would want to fly in this?” according to the report.

Two airport employees said they didn’t notice the plane taxi past them or hear an engine run-up.

Several witnesses, including the airport employees, thought it sounded like the airplane “just took off,” the report said.

Witnesses who lived near the airport said the engine sounded like it “went in full throttle” as they heard the sounds of impact.

Communication between the plane and air traffic control was never made, the report says.

The plane crashed at Clifton Pond Road near McWilder Road. It came to rest in a creek about 1.5 miles away from the end of the runway, according to the report.

The wreckage showed no evidence of fire before or after the crash.

All main parts of the plane were found except for most of the right wing.

The plane was headed to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Allison Forsythe, a master’s student at East Carolina University; Brian Sjostedt, a former Raleigh police officer; and Jessica Kenny, Forsythe’s best friend and Sjostedt’s girlfriend, died.

Sjostedt, the pilot, had reported 1,422 hours of flight experience in August 2018.