Officials identify 2 men killed in small plane crash near Livingston County airport
James Tafralian, Philip Colmer identified as plane crash victims
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Officials have identified the two men who were killed Tuesday in a small plane crash near a Livingston County airport.
Philip Henry Colmer, 64, of Chelsea, has been identified as the pilot of the single-engine Rockwell Commander M200.
James Tafralian, 68, of Webberville, was the only passenger in the plane, officials said.
Colmer and Tafralian were inside the plane around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday when it crashed on the runway while taking off from the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane came to rest in a field next to the runway, near Tooley and West Highland roads, just east of I-96 in Howell Township. It will remain in the field until National Transportation Safety Board officials arrive Wednesday to take over the investigation, according to the FAA.
You can see aerial video of the crash scene here:
Officials believe Colmer had finished the yearly inspection of the plane and was taking it for a test flight with Tafralian.
"You know, if he didn't have enough airspeed and he tried to climb out too fast and stalled -- planes can roll over and nose in, and when that starts happening, there's nothing you can do about it," said Steve Ripper, a pilot who lives near the crash scene. "You don't have any altitude."
Ripper believes the crash was caused by a mechanical failure or an aerodynamic stall.
Colmer owned the aviation service at Livingston County Airport, according to authorities. Tafralian was a member of the company that owns the plane, officials said.
Tafralian was an experienced mechanic and pilot who loved to skydive, police said.
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