Investigation underway after pilot dies in small plane crash in Louisa County

Local News

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A pilot is dead after his plane crashed in Louisa County Sunday afternoon. 

Virginia State Police say 70-year-old Timothy M. Henson, of Palmyra, Va. was the pilot. He was the only person on board the small plane.

The crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. in the 400 block of Chalklevel Road. This is about two miles from the Louisa County airport where the pilot took off from. 

State police and Louisa County Police and Fire personnel both responded to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration will be on the scene on Monday to figure out what caused the plane to go down. 

8News spoke with investigators about the crash that claimed Henson’s life. 

“It was a vertical impact, in the sense that we didn’t see any forward debris path,” said Robert Gretz, senior air safety investigator with the NTSB. “And we were able to document all four corners of the airplane so there’s no major pieces missing or anything like that.”  

The aircraft involved in the crash, a single-seat, home built Titan Tornado, is expected to be picked up by a company out of Delaware. The NTSB is still unsure of what caused the crash. 

“At a later date, we can go to the secure facility where we have proper tools and a controlled environment where we can take a closer look at the airplane,” Gretz said. 

8News also spoke with Monty Visser, a flight instructor at the Chesterfield County Airport. Visser told 8News Henson did exactly what pilots are trained to do.

“Which was stay away from people, stay away from houses, stay away from any damage that it could cause unnecessarily. So, unfortunately taking his life he also saved other people that could’ve been potentially hurt,” Visser said.  

Gretz says the NTSB investigation is still limited in what it knows about the crash. 

“We’ve recovered a handheld GPS from the airplane, and so if it’s still intact and we can downland that data we should be able to get a plot of his entire flight,” Gretz said.  

Neighbors in the area told 8News the crash sounded like a bomb went off. 

“It’s a little scarier when you hear the helicopters coming over the house when you’re inside,” resident Marisha Madison said. “It actually is a little more concerning. There’s nothing you can do to prevent it and that makes it even more concerning because you’re just helpless in the situation.”

There was a deadly plane crash in Louisa County in 2003 and 2010. There was also a plane crash last year, but everyone made it out safely. 

The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report about the crash within 10-business days. 

Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story. 

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