Local flight instructor perplexed by fatal plane crash - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Local flight instructor perplexed by fatal plane crash

A local flight instructor Monday said Saturday's fatal crash of a Cessna airplane in north Mississippi was perplexing.

As a FedEx Pilot and a retired Air Force Pilot, Ward Severts knew how to fly planes.  Monday, it was why the crash that killed Severt was so perplexing to retired flight instructor Gordon Hall.

"The field in which he landed appears to be firm and grassy, and large enough to put a small airplane into the field," Hall said.

A pilot for 48 years, and an instructor from 1960 to 1996, Hall said even engine failure shouldn't have caused a crash like what happened Saturday.

"Engine failure is not a problem," he said. "He could have landed very easily."

Easily, Hall said, unless the plane's wings collapsed.

"It's hard to imagine in this day and age an airplane just collapsing in flight," he said.

Friends of Ward Severt said he was an experienced pilot, who flew an F-15 in for the Air Force in both the Gulf War and the War on Terror.

Hall has flown sixty-two different types of aircraft as the only pilot on board.  He said he's also instructed FedEx pilots and and commercial pilots to fly Cessnas.

The transition, he said, isn't always as easy as some pilots think.

"Sometimes they get the idea that small airplanes don't kill," Hall said.

A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board said before Severts rented the plane, he took a written exam and went out on a check flight with a flight instructor.  The NTSB officials said Severts landed the plane five times, and demonstrated proficiency.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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