KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released a preliminary report on the crash of a plane in Kinston, North Carolina, on June 17 near the Kinston Drag Strip that killed the pilot.
Officials said the Air Tractor AT-402B airplane crashed and was destroyed on contact. William James Brinkley, 52, of Biddle Road in Dover died in the crash.
A friend of the pilot spoke with the NTSB and her account was mentioned in the report. She said she spoke with Brinkley several times for the majority of his flight.
“She reported that the total call time was about 7 minutes long and that the pilot was utilizing a handsfree wireless (Bluetooth) device,” the report states. “During the call, the pilot informed her that he had just finished a full day of agriculture spraying and was departing the Mount Olive Airport (W40), Mount Olive, North Carolina to return to his home in Dover, North Carolina. The pilot also stated that during the flight he was going to perform a “flyover at the [Kinston] drag strip.”
She said she heard the plane take off and, 3-4 minutes later, Brinkley said he was having an issue with a “light on the wing.” She noticed changes in the pitch of the plane’s engine. She then heard a loud impact.
The owner of the Kinston Drag Strip told the NTSB “he was unaware that the pilot planned to perform a flyover during the drag race event.
A witness at the Kinston Drag Strip said they saw the plane in view and that it “dove down” and then “went vertical” before it eventually crashed.