LLANO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two people are dead in a Kingsland plane crash on Sunday afternoon, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The Kingsland Volunteer Fire Department said it happened at Williams Lakeshore Airstrip at Shirley Williams Airport, which is just north of Legends Golf Course. DPS was notified at 2:43 p.m.
“You could see the plane… you could see it elevated up off the ground especially with the wind as strong as it was,” said a witness who didn’t want his name used. “All of a sudden it was like a big thump… and then within a minute I saw a big black plume of smoke go up, so I knew that he had gone down.”
The Experimental Rans S-7 Courier caught fire upon crashing, but the cause of the crash is still unknown, according to The Federal Aviation Administration.
The NTSB likely have an investigator in the area either later on Sunday or on Monday.
NTSB investigating crash Sunday of an Experimental Rans S-7 Courier aircraft, Kingsland, TX.— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) April 21, 2019
Aviation Attorney Mike Slack explained the Experimental Rans aircraft is a Light Sport Aircraft.
“[It’s] limited in engine horse power and weight,” he said. “They are generally designed to be flown by people that don’t fly as actively as they may like. They tend to be less expensive.”
Because of its lightweight nature, Slack said. “It’s going to be susceptible to being blown around during gusty weather conditions. It doesn’t have the weight that some other aircraft have, so it’s susceptible to gusty wind conditions, and a lot of Light Sport Aircraft tend not to fly in gusty conditions.”
Slack also explained a Rans aircraft can have either an “Experimental” certificate or a normal certificate.
Normal means the company produced the aircraft in an FAA certifed assembly line.
Experimental means someone built it at home like a “Do It Yourself” kit.
“The realm of building an aircraft carries with it certain risks which is that, maybe the owner substitutes parts, missteps, and we’ve handled cases where that have led directly to a structurural failure or control failure,” Slack said.
A witness told KXAN the same plane was up earlier in the day. “He would get up real high and do a flip. He did that a couple times and then he was flying down really low across the houses and stuff, and it concerned me.”
Slack said these types of planes aren’t allowed to do flips.
According to the FAA, depending on the type of plane there could be restrictions when it comes to operating small planes on a windy day.
The names of the people onboard have not been released yet.