UPDATED: Loss of Engine Power Could Be Cause of Plane Crash in Laytonsville (VIDEO)

UPDATED 10.12.16 The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released an update on the plane crash that killed one person in Laytonsville.

According to initial information received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot reported the airplane was experiencing engine problems shortly after takeoff.

The airplane departed for Davis Airport (W50) in Laytonsville and was destined for Montgomery County Airpark (GAI) in Gaithersburg.

Witnesses reported they saw the airplane flying towards the southeast direction before making a 180 degree turn towards W50. According to the NTSB report, witnesses stated the plane started flying erratically but gained control for a few seconds before losing control and falling out the sky sideways.

The wreckage was located two miles southeast of W50 in the middle of a corn field. The airplane had extensive thermal damage from a postcrash fire. Impact marks from the corn field revealed the left wing impacted the ground first before the plane cartwheeled and flipped over.

The propeller remained attached to the engine, according to the NTSB report. The engine was retained for further examination.

The pilot, 78-year-old William Hughes of Gaithersburg, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land.

His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 13, 2016. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,183 hours

UPDATED 9.29.16 Montgomery County Police Department has identified 78-year-old William Hughes of Gaithersburg as the person killed in plane crash.

ORIGINAL POST 9.28.16 Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are back on the scene investigating a small plane crash that killed one person in a field off Laytonsville Road on Tuesday evening.

“A preliminary investigation suggests a loss of engine power could be the cause of a loss of engine power prior to the airplane departing flight,” said NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Brian Rayner.

The pilot was the only one on board and killed in the crash

The crash happened around 5 p.m. in a field near the 23900 block of Laytonsville Road, roughly three miles from Davis Airfield.

Rayner says witnesses described the plane as having normal engine sounds as it took off and climbed.

NTSB officials believe the airplane’s altitude above ground was roughly 500-1000 feet off the ground before it crashed.

The airplane was operated by a flying club near Montgomery County Airpark and was at Davis Airfield for routine scheduled maintenance work.

“Right now we have three or four investigators on scene. We also have a senior safety investigator providing us with aerial photography of the sight with a drone,” said Rayner.

Investigators say their next step is to examine the pilot’s medical health during the time of the crash, gather more information regarding the airplane’s maintenance and determine other outside factors such as the weather and environment.

Rayner says the pilot had at least 1,100 hours of flight experience, according to log records.

Authorities have not released the name of the person killed at this time.


Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at and on Twitter @mittimegan.


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