Cause of Burke County plane crash remains a mystery

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The 31-year-old pilot whose plane crashed Thursday night tried to land at Augusta Regional Airport before turning and heading toward Burke County, according to Diane Johnston, the airport's marketing director.

A one-engine Aero Commander crashed Thursday evening off Saxon Road in Waynesboro. The pilot, Barrington Carl Slack, parachuted his way to safety.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
A one-engine Aero Commander crashed Thursday evening off Saxon Road in Waynesboro. The pilot, Barrington Carl Slack, parachuted his way to safety.

Details on why the landing was unsuccessful and reasons for the plane's crash were not released Friday because the investigation, which is being led by the National Transportation Safety Board, was ongoing.

Tom Saxon, who owns the property off Saxon Road where the single-engine 1976 Aero Commander crashed, was with his brother at their mother's house near Georgia Highway 23 when they first heard the plane overhead at 7:15 p.m.

"I heard something spitting and sputtering," he said. "About (that) time I heard another noise (and) I ran out into the opening and saw it going down behind the trees."

The plane crashed about 300 yards away in Saxon's millet field. He said it barely missed his cow pasture.

The pilot, Barrington Carl Slack, of Lithonia, Ga., parachuted safely and asked a passing motorist to take him back to the crash site, said Burke County sheriff's Sgt. Dan Lowe.

Slack told authorities he left Covington, Ga., about 4 p.m., headed for Columbia.

Lowe said the pilot appeared unharmed and refused medical attention. Saxon said he was surprised that the pilot was so calm and wondered why the pilot had a parachute. Saxon asked Slack if this was his first jump.

"He said 'No, it's the second time I've jumped,' " Saxon said. "I didn't ask him if the first time he had to jump or if he was jumping for pleasure."

Authorities were unsure where Slack went after leaving the crash site or where he was Friday.

According to the FAA, Kalunji Aviation Group in Atlanta owns the aircraft. The Georgia Secretary of State's Web site lists Slack as the company's agent.

Comments (26) Add comment
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Batman
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Batman 10/22/10 - 11:42 am
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I guarantee you the aircraft

I guarantee you the aircraft owner's insurance company and homeland security will investigate as to why he did land the aircraft.

Westside Liberal
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Westside Liberal 10/22/10 - 12:14 pm
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Come on Folks! How many

Come on Folks! How many pilots of small aircraft carry a parachute? Sounds like he really didn't have much confidence in the airworthiness of his craft. I think the GBI and federal authorities should investigate. Makes you want to say hmmmmmm.

usafvet
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usafvet 10/22/10 - 12:33 pm
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The NTSB will thoroughly

The NTSB will thoroughly investigate the events leading up to the crash, the possible causes of the crash, the condition and records of the plane as well as the qualifications and condition of the pilot. They do a very thorough job and unfortunately that can take a while. Unlike some local enforcement people and many posters, they will not speculate.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/22/10 - 12:40 pm
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It appears the reporter did

It appears the reporter did not ask the airport officials the most pertinent question. Did the pilot inform them he had a parachute and was going to jump?

Kalunji Aviation Group is a fairly large company with all types of aircraft. Are you telling me their pilots carry parachutes?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/22/10 - 01:03 pm
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If you want to see a good

If you want to see a good movie about a pilot who parachuted out of a small plane, check out Swan Song, starring Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo and featuring Johnny Cash as the pilot.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 10/22/10 - 01:43 pm
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How about a picture..

How about a picture..

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 10/22/10 - 03:10 pm
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I've missed an approach

I've missed an approach before but never twice. There are many conditions that can cause a missed approach including weather (crosswind) and equipment failure, along with pilot error. It can take up to six months for the NTSB to release their findings. As for the pilot not having confidence in the airworthiness of the plane, NO pilot would take off under those conditions with maybe the exceptions of a plane that has only been certified to be ferried to a location for maintenance.

itsallright
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itsallright 10/22/10 - 03:19 pm
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Speculate all you want, I'm

Speculate all you want, I'm glad the pilot was not injured.

Rolling Eyes
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Rolling Eyes 10/22/10 - 03:25 pm
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W. Liberal, I was wondering

W. Liberal, I was wondering the same thing.

airbud7
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airbud7 10/22/10 - 04:19 pm
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And the pilot just hitched a

And the pilot just hitched a ride and left??? (may be to change underwear)!!!☺

flipa
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flipa 10/22/10 - 05:00 pm
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If i hadn't just done an

If i hadn't just done an anual I would wear a parachute. What would it hurt? It gets kinda cool up there anyway:o)

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/22/10 - 05:03 pm
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EVERYONE is glad the man

EVERYONE is glad the man wasn't injured and I'm also glad no one on the ground was hurt, but it doesn't lessen the need for answers to obvious questions.

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 10/23/10 - 09:46 am
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I'm extremely glad that no

I'm extremely glad that no one was injured, but like Riverman says, there are some obvious questions. It seemed rather strange to me when I first read about it. I'm getting the feeling that maybe he wasn't questioned and just allowed to go on his way since he wasn't injured. I remember when John Ludwig, Jr. drove his Maserati across a long field, went airbourne, cleared a wooden privacy fence, and plowed all the way through a home, from back to front killing the man who lived there in Travelers Rest, SC. Everyone knew he was going very fast, but no drug or alcohol testing was done, he was allowed to leave for home with a friend, with no real questioning done.

OhWell
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OhWell 10/22/10 - 05:52 pm
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This is so Burke Co. He

This is so Burke Co. He probably new somebody or his company was well known etc. If I wreck my car and no one else is involved I will be tested for DUI. Did he get tested for FUI?

russroe
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russroe 10/23/10 - 04:05 am
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I have been flying for forty

I have been flying for forty years and have worn a chute several times for various reasons. The bigest reason most pilots dont wear a chute is that the couldnt get out of the aircraft even if they had one. most airplanes are not designd to be able to exit the aircraft in flight. even some aerobatic aircraft are difficult to exit. Art Schol one of the greatest aerobatic pilots of all time couldnt get out when he needed to (and died) the cessna 150 aerobat is designed to be able to jetison the doors to be able to exit. More and more airplanes are being equiped with BSR chute systems to lower the whole plane by parachute. More planes are equiped with "airbag" seat belts etc. Some day they will design the passenger compartments to jetson from the aircraft in an emergency.
Trust me there has been times when I whished Id had a chute. The Rocwell Commander is one aircraft where you could actually quite easily jump from it has a sliding canopy. so dont knock it if you haven tried it.....

airforrest
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airforrest 10/23/10 - 07:33 am
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Very strange I have to say

Very strange I have to say !!! lol I fly the same type aircraft that he crashed in. I have over 1500 hrs. in private aircraft, and have also done Skydiving in recent years. I have never taken a Parachute when I fly. Normally around this area, there are plenty of places to safely put an aircraft down without the risk of serious harm to the Pilot, and people on the ground. And why would you even try to Bail out when you have all this open area around, and Bush Field close by, with Emergency equipment available??? Lastly, with the door design on the plane, it would be a VERY difficult to make a safe exit to Parachute out. I wanna know more of this story........Should be a VERY interesting investigation!!! Must have been a Repo Ferry Pilot, and a large Fan of D.B. Cooper ?????

dani
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dani 10/23/10 - 08:37 am
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Can't the guy have a little

Can't the guy have a little fun? :-)

usafvet
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usafvet 10/23/10 - 09:24 am
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I have an Archer2 and a

I have an Archer2 and a person would probably incur much pain trying to get in with a parachute on. Can't even imagine trying to get out with one on. My concern with this incident is a pilot leaving a very well equipped and laid out airport knowing he had a problem with the plane. I have observed emergency landings at AGS, and I wll assure you, They are on top of everything.

Riverman1
83725
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Riverman1 10/23/10 - 09:37 am
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It's looking more and more

It's looking more and more like someone at the Chronicle owes me a Coke.

Riverman1
83725
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Riverman1 10/23/10 - 09:40 am
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He was flying from Atlanta to

He was flying from Atlanta to Columbia when he said he had mechanical problems. He passed many small airfields to fly all the way to Bush Field which was many miles off his route. That makes me wonder also.

augusta citizen
9317
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augusta citizen 10/23/10 - 09:49 am
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If authorities don't know

If authorities don't know where he went after he left the crash site, then it certainly doesn't read like he was questioned much.

Sceptic
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Sceptic 10/23/10 - 11:10 am
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It is interesting than some
Unpublished

It is interesting than some airplane crashes make the front page and some don't get reported at all. For example, in April 2007 a Daniel Field based Piper Arrow crashed in Burke County and received (as far as I can determine) essentially no news coverage. According the the NTSB, that crash was the direct result of maintenance malpractice by the maintenance facility at Daniel Field.

dani
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dani 10/23/10 - 12:06 pm
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Sceptic..Might be because

Sceptic..Might be because that pilot didn't parachute out.

Sceptic
4
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Sceptic 10/23/10 - 12:50 pm
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The Cessna pilot who landed
Unpublished

The Cessna pilot who landed on Washington Road didn't parachute out, either. Neither did the Cessna pilot whose plane was blown over by strong winds at Bush Field. There was no lack of coverage for either of those events. But a local plane is destroyed (the pilot walked away thanks to his skills) due to negligent maintenance by a local facility, and it isn't newsworthy? I am a little skeptical as to why not.

Sweet son
10372
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Sweet son 10/23/10 - 05:31 pm
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Stay tuned!!!! It will be

Stay tuned!!!! It will be stinky before it is over!!!

billy
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billy 10/24/10 - 09:03 am
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I can't understand why your

I can't understand why your reporter has not lmentioned that he landed about 6 miles from the plant Vogle nuclear power plant which is under construction, nor did he mention that his landing site was also quite close to the SRS! Could this mystery pilot work for the CIA or NSA? Just a thought. We need more investigative reporting please.

majterry2000
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majterry2000 10/28/10 - 11:25 pm
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The April 2007 story out of

The April 2007 story out of Burke County did indeed make the news. It was a small story about an unintended off-airport landing after an engine failure. It turned out that a parts supplier had provided the wrong part, but with the right part number, that was used after an oil change. About 25 minutes after takeoff the oil had completely drained from the engine, resulting in a catastrophic engine failure.

Unfortunately this same accident has occurred several times in this same type of aircraft in the US and Europe. The error in this case happened long before parts arrived at Daniel Field; be careful when you start to point fingers, please.

Why wasn't the pilot interviewed by the media? Because I left with the Burke County Sheriff's Deputy instead...

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 12/22/10 - 06:26 pm
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I hope there will be an

I hope there will be an update on this story. WRDW reported that this pilot had just gone in for parachuting classes, 4 days before this crash. It seemed like he was planning a jump. Something very suspicious here.

augusta citizen
9317
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augusta citizen 12/22/10 - 06:27 pm
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Please keep us informed on

Please keep us informed on this pilot.

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