HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Two people were killed Tuesday in a small plane crash near the runway of a Livingston County airport, authorities said.
The single-engine Rockwell Commander M200 crashed at about 11:20 a.m. in a field near Tooley and West Highland roads, just east of I-96 in Howell Township, according to the Howell Area Fire Department.
Steve Ripper is a pilot who lives nearby. He believes the crash was either a mechanical failure or an aerodynamic stall.
"You know, if he didn't have enough airspeed and he tried to climb out too fast and stalled," RIpper said. "Planes can roll over and nose in, and when that starts happening, there's nothing you can do about it. You don't have any altitude."
Authorities believe the pilot, who owns the aviation service at Livingston County Airport, had finished the yearly inspection of the plane and was taking it out for a test flight with a member of the company that owns it.
The 68-year-old passenger lived in Webberville and was an experienced mechanic and pilot who had a love for skydiving.
The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.
The plane will stay where it crashed until Wednesday when NTSB investigators arrive to take over the investigation.