Plainville police identify pilot killed in plane crash - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Plainville police identify pilot killed in plane crash

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Crews responded to a plane crash in Plainville on Thursday morning (WFSB) Crews responded to a plane crash in Plainville on Thursday morning (WFSB)
Crews have responded to a plane crash in Plainville (WFSB) Crews have responded to a plane crash in Plainville (WFSB)
PLAINVILLE, CT (WFSB) -

Plainville police identified the 67-year-old pilot who was killed in a plane crash near Robertson Airport on Thursday.

The twin-engine aircraft crashed just after 10:30 a.m., in a landfill near the airport. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot was the only person on board when the plane crashed, and that he died on impact.

He was identified as 67-year-old Donald Eckberg, of Burlington. 

See more photos from the scene here.

The FAA and the NTSB will be taking over the investigation. They identified the aircraft as a Rutan Defiant, and lists the victim as the plane's co-owner.

Police said the surrounding area will be closed to the public during the investigation. 

Richard Marr, who helped Eckberg building the plane, said his friend was a great pilot, and a great man.

"We were like brothers. He was one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known," Marr said in a statement to Channel 3 on Thursday.

Marr says he plans to speak to NTSB and FFA investigators on Friday morning at the crash site. He said because Eckberg was such an impeccable pilot, he believes a medical issue may have led to the crash. 

Robertson Airport is located off of Johnson Avenue, however, neighbors on Julie Road said the plane was flying awfully close to the ground before it crashed on Thursday morning, just several hundred feet from a nearby condo complex.

"Seeing it pass the tree like that and it being that low, I figured something was going to happen, something was wrong," said Ashley Wolak, of Plainville.

Dr. Michael Teiger, who is an aviation medical examiner says the FAA designates Rutan Defiants as experimental aircrafts, which means the plane was built by individuals, not in a factory, but that doesn't mean it wasn't safe. 

"These are experienced engineers and people who are in the trade, who know how to build planes. It takes several years to actually get a plane from the kit to be certified by the FAA," said Teiger. 

Stay with Channel 3 on air, on the app for updates on the investigation.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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