Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the amateur-built aircraft crashed in the woods after departing from the Tom B. David airport in Calhoun at about 2 p.m. She said the plane burst into flames and was destroyed.
The person aboard the plane — 76-year-old Roy Gardner Russom — was killed, according to Emergency Management Director Richard Cooper.
According to Andrew Bennett, an employee at the airport, the wreckage was approximately 200 yards to the west of the airport. The pilot was departing to the south, toward Adairsville.
The plane went in the air Bennett said, “no more than 400-500 feet at the most.”
“The wreckage was pretty destroyed. There wasn’t much there, and it burst into flames on impact,” Bennett said.
The pilot had been constructing the plane for some time and was well known to the staff at the airport.
“He came by here through the week mostly and he’d fly in the mornings then come in and hang out and talk with everybody. It’s a small airplane, single seat and it was powered by a Volkswagen engine and it was an airplane that he built himself,” Bennett said. “I think he first flew the airplane about four months ago. I think he’d been building it for two or three years.”
The FAA is investigating the crash and additional information was not immediately available.