A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board reveals that witnesses saw a malfunction that led to a fatal plane crash at Augusta Regional Airport in July.
Dr. Thomas S. Wilson, 53, of Mooresville, N.C., was flying out of Augusta Regional when he crashed his single-engine Mooney 20 after the plane malfunctioned July 18.
Witnesses told the NTSB they "observed the propeller separate from the airplane and fall to the ground, followed by the airplane in a nose down spiral."
The pilot, who flew back and forth from Mooresville to Burke Medical Center in Waynesboro, Ga., for NES Healthcare Group, had been involved in a previous gear-up landing accident with the same plane April 11.
During the crash, the plane sustained substantial damage to the propeller and the fuselage.
Maintenance employees who worked on the airplane told authorities they had replaced the three-blade propeller with a two-blade propeller two days before the fatal crash.
The purpose of the July 18 flight was to take the airplane to 8,000 feet to see whether everything operated correctly before Wilson flew the plane back to North Carolina.