The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a deadly plane crash at the Bentonville Municipal Airport.
According to investigators, Pilot Rex Grimsley was attempting to take off around 9:30 this morning, when he veered off the runway trying to avoid another plane.
Brandon Nolker says he was working just two hangars away from where Pilot Rex Grimsley’s 1983 Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft crashed Wednesday morning.
“I was actually just standing next to him about 10 minutes before…I heard the airplane trying to take off heard the engine under power and one of the guys working there with me said look out and there was no time to react and sounded like a bomb was going off,” Nolker said.
F.A.A. investigators say preliminary reports indicate Grimsley tried to avoid another plane, lifting the nose of his aircraft early and veering off the runway into a hangar.
“I know he was on a take off roll and evidently there was another plane coming to land from the other direction, that plane touched down in front of him, so he tried to take off but didn’t have enough speed,” Nolker said.
Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department says that hanger was the only one damaged. “No other aircraft or persons on the ground were injured,” Page said.
There is no air traffic control tower at the municipal airport. Instead, the F.A.A. says pilots alert each other over the radio when they are taking off and landing. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating.
“It’s sad, it’s stunning anytime someone in aviation is hit with a tragedy we all feel it,” Nolker said.