A company that makes and flies model Wright Brothers planes identified two volunteer pilots killed Saturday when one of its aircraft crashed during testing in rural Ohio.
Phil Beaudoin, president of Wright "B" Flyer Inc., says Mitchell Cary and Don Gum were highly competent pilots with extensive experience flying the company's planes.
The two died when a plane dubbed "Silver Bird" crashed about 11 a.m. 3 miles from an airport in Springfield where they had taken off. Springfield is about 45 miles west of Columbus.
Beaudoin says both pilots always observed the highest standards of safety and made enormous contributions to the organization.
The plane, known as the Wright B Flyer, was reportedly seen flying low near the airport in Springfield and never recovered altitude, NBC station WCMH reported.
The crew was pronounced dead at the scene.
The plane was one of a couple of planes built and maintained by volunteers interested in Dayton’s aviation heritage.
This model made test flights from the Beckley Municipal Airport in Springfield and had recorded 25 hours of flight time.
It had been certified for flight by the FAA in the fall of 2010.
Authorities did not address who was flying Saturday and Beaudoin said he did not know.
Beaudoin told the Springfield News-Sun that the Silver Bird had been built during the past four years by volunteers and that it was constructed to modern standards.
A third, non-flying Wright ‘B’ Flyer replica is housed at Hoffman Prairie.
Wilbur and Orville Wright, who had lived in Dayton, Ohio, are credited with inventing and flying the first successful airplane in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N.C.