UPDATE – MYSTERY SOLVED, PILOT LOCATED
Pilot Abandons Plane after Crash in Bagdad
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May 20, 2008 – Jim Struhsaker from the NTSB related the following:
The pilot of this downed plane has been identified as 56-year-old Raymond Hale from Paradise, Texas. Hale originally flew out of 29 Palms California intending to land at Love Field in Prescott. Due to heavy crosswinds in the sky around Bagdad, Hale decided to land the plane at the Bagdad airport during the late afternoon of May 17th. The landing was difficult and resulted in damage to the plane but no injuries to the pilot.
Hale recently purchased the plane from a Californian resident, and he had obtained an FAA “Ferry Permit” allowing him a single purpose flight to a repair facility for additional work before full certification. After landing in Bagdad, Hale was approached by an area resident who offered him a ride to Prescott where he made arrangements to return to Texas. NTSB officials located Hale after discovering the “Ferry Permit” and obtained details about the landing. Because the plane was involved in a hard landing, the emergency locater had been activated which Hale did not realize at the time. In this type of non-injury plane crash, notification to Federal authorities must be made within 10 days and the contact with Hale has met this requirement.
Hale in the process of making arrangements to recover the aircraft.
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On May 17, 2008, at approximately 7:30 P.M., the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office received a report from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) that their satellite had detected an aircraft emergency landing locator signal. The staff member at the AFRCC told YCSO that the signal location was in the area northwest of the Bagdad Airport and they were unable to verify if a plane crash actually occurred. Deputies were sent to the area and spent several hours searching in darkness but could not locate a downed aircraft.
At daybreak on May 18th, the AFRCC directed members of the Civil Air Patrol to complete a flyover of the target area and at about 6:15 A.M. they located the downed aircraft about 100 yards south of the Bagdad Airport runway. YCSO was notified of the find and immediately dispatched a deputy to the scene.
The deputy found that the plane had suffered extensive damage resulting from a crash landing. The plane was a Beech brand, single engine, model B23 and no pilot found in the area. Deputies checked the cockpit and found no evidence indicating that the pilot or a passenger, if any, had been injured. The plane tail number, or “N” number, was checked and records showed the plane was registered to a Southern California resident. As of late yesterday, the registered owner could not be located.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and will assume control of the investigation which is expected to begin today. If anyone has information regarding the plane crash or the pilot’s identity, please contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at (800) 932-3232.
Editor's Note: The tail number on the plane has been redacted by officials.