"An Edenton man was killed and a Suffolk man was injured Monday night when a small plane crashed."
So begins a June 9, 2010, Virginian-Pilot report of the second deadly general aviation accident in less than three weeks in Virginia and North Carolina. A more detailed article posted to the Web site of WAVY-TV 10 notes that the "plane is registered to Joseph S. Konicki of Spring, Texas. Records show the aircraft is a 1968 fixed wing, multi engine model. A Joseph S. Konicki with airplane registrations is also listed in Suffolk, VA." Konicki was injured and taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment. William Thomas Jordan of Edenton, North Carolina (NC) died.
Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators have responded to the crash scene and will try to determine what caused the accident involving the Beechcraft 60 "Duke" aircraft. The newspaper quotes a local private pilot as noting that "Beechcraft 60s are difficult planes to fly … (because) they’re short; they’ve got big, powerful engines, which makes them pitch-sensitive."
In December 2009, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin alerting pilots and owners that flaps on the Dukes could bind and fail to respond to signals from pilots’ controls. At least one other accident in which a pilot lost his life was attributed to this problem.
Whatever the cause of this latest fatal small plane crash, my thoughts go out to the Jordan and Konicki families. I am a licensed pilot myself, so I know both the joy and dangers of operating private aircraft. I know that my fellow aviators do their best to keep their planes in proper repair and to maintain safety. I also know that pilots need to be able to place complete trust in the design and construction of their planes. If basic mechanical problems with the Beechcraft 60 are found, I hope those problems receive wholesale fixes before more pilots and passengers — and their families — suffer.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.