Cessna crash in Aiken kills pilot

Sheriff's office photo
Site of Aiken County plane crash early Thursday
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AIKEN --- The cause of a fatal Thursday morning plane crash will take at least a week to determine, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Steve Radke was killed this morning just before 10 a.m. when his Cessna 210 crashed in a wooded area on Snipes Pond Road, north of the Aiken Municipal Airport.
Steve Radke was killed this morning just before 10 a.m. when his Cessna 210 crashed in a wooded area on Snipes Pond Road, north of the Aiken Municipal Airport.

Stephen Bruce Radke, 49, of Fripp Island, S.C., was killed when his single-engine Cessna 210/G crashed in a wooded area just off Wire Road before 10 a.m. during heavy rain.

Neighbors on Snipes Pond Road said they heard the plane's engines sputter as it passed over their homes. Then they saw fire after it hit the trees.

Federal Aviation Administration officials confirmed there were no other passengers on the four-seat plane.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said Radke was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. An autopsy is expected to take place today or Saturday at Newberry Pathology Associates.

Keith Holloway, NTSB public affairs officer, said investigators would begin a thorough search of the wreckage this morning as the team works on its preliminary report. The Aiken County Sheriff's Office Patrol and Forensic Unit spent more than 10 hours at the crash scene Thursday and plans to resume its investigation today.

"Anytime you have an accident that's not contained, it can add another layer of difficulty to the investigation, but it's nothing they haven't seen before," said Holloway.

Friends of the experienced pilot were shocked he could lose control of the plane, which he flew as often as some people drive cars.

Carlton said Radke had four years of experience as a pilot and that he was flying to Aiken to have instrumentation work done.

Neighbor and friend Sam McGowan said Radke left Beaufort Airport and was headed to Aiken Municipal Airport to meet a fishing buddy from Augusta. From there, the men and family, including Radke's wife, Kim, were going to Florida for some time on the coast.

"He'd go out of his way to help you in any way he could," said McGowan. "The accident must have been an act of nature because he was an extremely accomplished pilot."

Carlton said Radke left Beaufort at 9:15 a.m. on a 20-minute flight to Aiken. Radke was scheduled to arrive at 9:40 a.m. About 9:32 a.m., his plane was unable to be tracked by Live Flight Tracking, an aircraft-tracking Web site.

At 9:36 a.m., workers for a local electrical company said they heard a loud explosion, discovered the wreckage and called 911, Carlton said, adding that at the time of the crash, the weather was foggy, windy and it was raining severely, with visibility of less than 500 feet.

Despite the stormy weather, Radke issued no distress call, nor did he notify Aiken Municipal Airport of an emergency landing, according to Troy Elwell, Aiken County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111,

or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com.

AIKEN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE/SPECIAL

Stephen Radke was killed Thursday morning when his Cessna 210/G crashed in a wooded area north of the Aiken airport.

Comments (23) Add comment
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rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 10/28/10 - 11:20 am
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Bless their souls.
Unpublished

Bless their souls.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/28/10 - 12:15 pm
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RIP whomever you were. Tragic

RIP whomever you were.
Tragic that there is so much mention of plane crashes lately.
Are they just not doing full inspections anymore??

bpgoodwin01
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bpgoodwin01 10/28/10 - 12:21 pm
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@pommom... who's to say it

@pommom... who's to say it was due to lack of inspections? The weather at the time of the crash was extreme. Maybe it was pilot error, not a malfunction. It's a bit premature to be making accusations of wrong doing or neglect.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/28/10 - 12:26 pm
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WOW!! You got all that from

WOW!! You got all that from my one post? Gee, go back and reread it again! I'm assuming nothing, made no accusations of any sort, you need to comprehend what one's comment means better.
If you HAD read it, it says clearly are THEY. Did you see how many crashes just in the past?? That is what my post is about.
So, all of those were pilot error? Now whose making accusations BP??

Sceptic
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Sceptic 10/28/10 - 12:56 pm
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Pommom38, I have been flying
Unpublished

Pommom38, I have been flying for nearly 40 years and I no idea what a "full" inspection is. And, I suspect, neither do you.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 10/28/10 - 01:34 pm
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I hate it when you guys slam

I hate it when you guys slam and jam when you don't even have a clue why the plane crashed. Let it alone until you know more!!!!!!

PetsArePeopleToo
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PetsArePeopleToo 10/28/10 - 01:42 pm
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Please do not slam Pommom38.

Please do not slam Pommom38. She must not be aware of FAA rules & regulations, she mearly asked a question.

Boogaloo
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Boogaloo 10/28/10 - 01:46 pm
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The Bermuda Triangle has

The Bermuda Triangle has shifted west.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/28/10 - 01:56 pm
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Geez guys. Ya'll need to step

Geez guys. Ya'll need to step back and take a deep breath or something.
No one is slamming and jamming about a crash, no I do not know what a full inspection entails, but do know that preflight checks are to be done.
What about my post enrages everyone?? Did ya count how MANY crashes have occured?? So ya'll just continue reading what you want into peoples comments and have a glorious day..

Sweet son
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Sweet son 10/28/10 - 02:24 pm
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Sorry pommon, I did not mean

Sorry pommon, I did not mean you were slamming. Folks have lost their lives and I believe that we should hold strong comments or judgements.

airbud7
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airbud7 10/28/10 - 02:39 pm
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Yes pommom38 there does seem

Yes pommom38 there does seem to be a lot of plane crashes lately.
And yes I hope the pilots are inspecting there planes before each flight!
And yes RIP whomever you were.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/28/10 - 02:42 pm
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Ty sweetson and airbud:) I

Ty sweetson and airbud:) I was really starting to think wow, am I THAT oblivious to what my comment meant? I meant nothing but the obvious, something is happening here with all these crashes! petsarepeople, ty as well. I was asking a serious question..

Sceptic
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Sceptic 10/28/10 - 03:00 pm
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Pommom38, despite what you
Unpublished

Pommom38, despite what you might have perceived, the general aviation accident rate has remained amazingly consistent over the past decade. Year after year, it falls at between 6-7 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. Fatal accidents number at only slightly over one per 100,000 flight hours. Mechanical failure typically accounts for only about 15% of the total accidents. For more information, enter "Nall Report" in your favorite search engine. That way, you can get a serious answer to go with your serious question.

GO_BAMA_2010_ROLL_TIDE
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GO_BAMA_2010_ROLL_TIDE 10/28/10 - 03:06 pm
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"something is happening here

"something is happening here with all these crashes!"

That's right pommom. There is something happening here and that is that all these plane crashes are isolated issues with a very different set of circumstances in each one. Perhaps you are the one that should go back and reread your post. Your original question, at first reading, sounds very accusatory. Had it been worded differently, you probably wouldn't have been catching flak from it.

As for the crash, I'll wait until the NTSB and FAA finish their investigation before I comment as to what the cause was. After looking at the approach they were flying, the aircraft's flight path, and the weather, I'm fairly positive as to what happened; but, this isn't the time to speculate.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 10/28/10 - 03:10 pm
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Pommon, I apoligized and am

Pommon, I apoligized and am very sorry if I offended you. It was a good question. I have a very good friend who flew helicopters and small planes as his job. I would often go with him on flights all over the state. My wife often asked me why I went and I told her that I would have been having fun right up to the last minute. Good pilots are very cautious and take all the precautions that they can to avoid bad situations. They just love the freedom of flying!!! Prayers and condolences to the Radtke family.

pommom38
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pommom38 10/28/10 - 03:18 pm
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Sceptic, that may be the

Sceptic, that may be the facts, but around here? I do not recall so many within such a short time. Had they been elsewhere, much attention wouldn't be paid to them from local folk.
No harm, no foul Sweet! Opinions are opinions, and sometimes they are totally taken out of context, that will always happen. But I will defend my opinion when it seems like everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon in a negative way.

Sceptic
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Sceptic 10/29/10 - 08:20 pm
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What I cannot understand is
Unpublished

What I cannot understand is the local crashes that don't make the news. For example, a few years ago a Piper Arrow based at Daniel Field was destroyed in a crash in Burke County. If that crash received any local news coverage, I certainly didn't see it. Of course, I am sure that the aircraft owner was happy with the lack of coverage. Take a look at the NTSB report on N47944 and you will see why. The truth would have been bad for business.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 10/28/10 - 03:48 pm
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Grrrrrr...get off pommoms fur

Grrrrrr...get off pommoms fur or you will have all the pups on here going forya.

frippislandfriend
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frippislandfriend 10/28/10 - 04:08 pm
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I was a friend of Steve Radke

I was a friend of Steve Radke and he was a great guy. He and his wife Kim were at my house last Saturday. The world is a lesser place without him.

mikethrower70
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mikethrower70 10/28/10 - 04:36 pm
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Steve Radke was one of the

Steve Radke was one of the best guys you could ever know, I have known him close to 20 years. I can't believe this has happened this is truly a loss. Steve , I will miss you ! You were the best !
THROWER

KSL
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KSL 10/28/10 - 04:46 pm
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I like pommon, but I do have

I like pommon, but I do have to agree with Go Bama's post. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I had a slight problem with the wording of her initial post myself.

From personal experience. Plane crashes can and do happen in groups as well as not. When in groups there is a tendency to ask what is going on. Twice we were somewhere on commercial airliners when crashes, bad crashes, have occurred. One was the Canary Island crash in 1977. The second was a crash while planes were having to circle Atlanta airport due to bad weather. One of those planes up there circling with us didn't get to land properly and people died. That can be quite sobering if you are in the air at the same time and under the same circumstances.

usafvet
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usafvet 10/28/10 - 05:48 pm
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There is a saying amongst us

There is a saying amongst us pilots, "flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on." I won't comment on some of the other aspects. My condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Radke. Like Bama, I will not speculate the cause/causes, but will wait for the official reports. That usually takes 6 months to a year. I have flown into Aiken a number of times. Like the lay out.

curly123053
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curly123053 10/28/10 - 06:02 pm
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In my prayers!

In my prayers!

GO_BAMA_2010_ROLL_TIDE
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GO_BAMA_2010_ROLL_TIDE 10/28/10 - 07:37 pm
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fripp and thrower, sorry for

fripp and thrower, sorry for your loss.

firefighter23
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firefighter23 10/28/10 - 11:13 pm
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Everyone of the family, i'm

Everyone of the family, i'm so so sorry for your lost. He seem to be a great guy and will always be a great guy in the sky. I wish there was something i could do to make this better for you, i wish there was something i could say to make this better for you. may god bless you all for this hard time is over you. Yall will be in my thoughts and prayers.

As for everyone that has left a comment please quit fussing and saying bad things as for the family may read these comments. i mean think about it. if this was your family would you want to listen to a bunch of people fussing?

bftpilot
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bftpilot 10/29/10 - 01:53 pm
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My thoughts and prayers are

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims' family and friends. I am truly sorry for your loss.

It is premature and irresponsible to speculate as to the cause of the accident, but as a pilot, I think that it is very important for the non-pilot public to understand the facts about general aviation safety (general aviation encompasses all non-commercial flights). According to the FAA, only 16% of accidents are caused by mechanical or maintenance issues. 80% of accidents are "pilot-related" and of that, 18.8% are due to weather. Weather is considered a pilot-related cause due to the fact that poor weather conditions are considered avoidable with proper flight planning and decision making.

Layne Sherrill
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Layne Sherrill 10/29/10 - 07:54 pm
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Steve was a very good friend

Steve was a very good friend of mine. The world was his playground. He lived life to the fullest extent and loved eveyrone. My life will forever be better because he was in it...God has him now and heaven will welcome their new angel, though he'll definitely shake things up a bit!

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