The kit-built airplane that struck Georgia native Robert Jones during a crash-landing on Hilton Head Island last year lost power due to a damaged crankshaft. That’s according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released after an investigation by the agency.
Officials said a previously unreported strike on the Lancair IV-P’s propeller likely damaged the crankshaft. The propeller was not recovered after the crash, but officials said they based the decision on fatigue cracks found on the crankshaft.
Virginia native Edward Smith was flying with a passenger on a Florida-to-Virginia trip in March 2010 when the plane lost its propeller at 13,000 feet and began leaking oil. The report said the pilot decided to make an emergency landing on the beach.
However, in doing so, the plane struck Georgia native Robert Jones from behind. Jones was jogging with earpieces at the time. Investigators believe he did not hear the plane coming with its dead engine. Both Smith and the passenger walked away from the accident.
Jones’s widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Smith and the plane’s manufacturers, accusing them of not properly testing the aircraft or its parts. The manufacturers deny the charge, saying the parts were misused after they were sold. Smith filed a cross-claim, saying the companies’ negligence exposed him to the lawsuit.
The report was released last month.