• FAA investigating after ultralight plane crashes in Lenoir

    By: Dave Faherty


    LENOIR, N.C. - Caldwell County Emergency Management responded to a small plane crash in Lenoir Sunday.

    The T-bird ultralight crashed just before 5:30 p.m. on Blue Sky Lane.


    The ultralight aircraft crashed in the woods about a quarter of a mile from the airstrip at Lower Creek Airport. The aircraft was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

    According to Caldwell County EMS, the pilot was extricated from the wreckage by the Valmead Fire Department and was transported to the helipad at Caldwell Memorial Hospital/UNC Healthcare for medical airlift to Carolinas Medical Center. 

    The pilot, Ben Proffit, has serious injuries, according to family members.

    His grandparents visited the crash Monday.

    "When I got the news my heart just kind of went up in my throat and my legs got so week I couldn't hardly walk," grandfather June Smith said.

    Smith said his grandon has been flying since he was 16 and got his pilot's license the same day he got his driver's license. 

    A neighbor was grilling Sunday at the time of the crash and saw the plane go down. He ran to help.

    "The plane started going straight up and accelerating and all the sudden I heard a bang. About that time I seen the plane flip and he started coming straight into the trees here," Rufus McCrary said.

    Smith said his grandson wants to become a missionary pilot someday. He has serious injuries after the crash.

    The scene has been secured by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the FAA is conducting the investigation. 


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