NTSB: Pilot was flying 'experimental' plane without a canopy before NC crash

CAMERON, N.C. — Federal investigators say a man who died in a plane crash in North Carolina last month was flying an "experimental" aircraft that was "amateur built."

Investigators said the two-seater lacked a canopy, and the pilot wore a helicopter helmet and facemask.

The information comes from a preliminary report released Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Charles Grant Fitzgerald was the only one on board when the plane crashed Oct. 14 near an airport in Cameron. It's about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh.

A friend of the pilot told investigators that the canopy on Fitzgerald's plane separated from the airframe during a previous flight. But Fitzgerald told his friend that the plane "flew alright" without it.

Investigators said the friend advised Fitzgerald not to fly without the canopy.