CHARLOTTE — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a helicopter crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon in south Charlotte.
Just before noon Wednesday, investigators cleared the wreckage on Interstate 77 and moved it to an offsite facility. NTSB said to protect the integrity of their investigation, they will not reveal that location.
Two WBTV employees, meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag, were killed in the crash.
Investigators told Channel 9 that they will be spending time with the manufacturers of the helicopter and its engine, in hopes of learning what happened.
John Gagliano is an aviation attorney and former Navy pilot. He told Channel 9 reporter Madison Carter that it is a complicated and imperfect process.
“The manufacturers of the helicopter and the engine have an incentive to not find a problem in their product, to point the blame ... someone else at the pilot, at a mechanic, at an operator, at a fuel provider with faulty fuel or water in the fuel,” said Gagliano. “So manufacturers have an incentive to not blame their own products.”
Gagliano said he was well versed in the particular aircraft that was involved in the crash, a Robinson R44 helicopter.
He said he believed that the NTSB will come to one conclusion.
“It seems really apparent that there was a mechanical defect in the aircraft. The pilot knew that there was something wrong. He was circling and he was trying to find a place to land, and unfortunately, he didn’t make it,” said Gagliano.
When asked why Gagliano believed there was a mechanical failure, he replied, “Well, it was a beautiful afternoon in Charlotte. There was no weather-related potential causes of the crash that I know about, or that are apparent from the initial reports.”
On Wednesday, the NTSB released a statement regarding the crash, saying:
“On Nov. 22 at approximately 11:57 a.m., a Robinson R44 helicopter crashed along I-77 near Charlotte, N.C. The helicopter, operated by Total Traffic and Weather Network, took off from the WBTV helipad and proceeded south for about five miles. The aircraft was in contact with CLT Tower and obtained clearance to enter CLT air space. It proceeded to do two 360-degree turns over 1-77 before descending rapidly into the ground adjacent to the highway. The pilot and the other passenger sustained fatal injuries. CLT Tower received no distress calls from the pilot.”
The NTSB said it will release a preliminary report in two to three weeks.
Investigators said the probable cause of the crash and any contributing factors will be in the final report, which can take from 12-24 months to be completed.
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