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Pilot Who Died in Plane Crash Not Rated to Fly at Night

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Myrtle Beach, SCThe investigation into a fatal plane crash in Myrtle Beach that took three lives on July 14 may take months to complete, due in part to the destruction of aircraft and instruments in the fiery crash. However, it was revealed today that the pilot who rented the doomed Piper PA plane was only rated to fly that particular aircraft during daylight.

The Myrtle Beach Sun-News reported on the preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Pilot Danny Carroll, his wife Raychel and their granddaughter Mallory Fields died when the plane disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach. The plane crashed into a mobile home on the ground, injuring the occupants inside. A dog perished in the ensuing fire, but no one else on the ground died.

According to the Sun-News, Carroll held a private pilot certificate and was rated for single-engine land and instrument planes. The 54-year-old received his most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate in March of last year, reporting at the time 640 hours of total flight experience.

The pilot was a member of a flight club that allowed him to borrow aircraft on occasion. While Carroll was given permission to use the Piper PA, he was required to have the aircraft back to Concord Regional Airport by sunset due to his limited experience with the plane. He reported having about 100 hours flying time in Piper Arrows, but he had no experience flying at night.

As the National Weather Service noted, sunset was expected for 8:30 pm on July 14.

NTSB investigators noted in their preliminary report that Carroll and his two passengers flew to Myrtle Beach without incident earlier that day. However, by the time the trio was due to return, the weather had turned.

Carroll notified Concord Regional Flight Services to report he would return the plane later than planned, due to thunderstorms and showers.

Carroll finally lifted off from the tarmac at Grand Strand sometime prior to 9 pm. Moments before the crash, the pilot was given instructions from the tower at Grand Strand to climb from 700 to 6,000 feet, the cruising altitude indentified in the flight plan. He began to climb and the plane turned left 270 degrees before disappearing from radar and crashing into the trailer at Creekside Mobile Home Park.

The plane was last checked on February 18 for its annual inspection and had been flown about 75 hours since, according to logbooks.

There was no emergency mayday from the cockpit before the fatal plane crash occurred.


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