North Carolina co-pilot who jumped to death from small plane was ‘visibly upset’
A co-pilot who jumped to his death from a small plane in North Carolina was distraught that he damaged the craft’s landing gear during a failed runaway approach, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday by the National. Transportation Safety Board.
The plane’s captain told federal investigators that his co-pilot, Charles Hew Crooks, 23, “was visibly upset by the hard landing” within minutes of their diversion to another airport for a quick landing. urgency, according to the report.
The co-pilot, who had been at the controls during the failed landing attempt, opened his side cockpit window at 3,500ft and “may have fallen ill”, the report said.
He then lowered the ramp at the rear of the plane, indicating that he felt he was going to be sick and needed air.
The report states that Crooks “got up from his seat, removed his helmet, apologized and exited the aircraft through the rear ramp door.”
The incident happened on July 29 about 30 miles south of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. At the time, Crooks did not have a parachute and his body was found in a backyard in the town of Fuquay-Varina.
Charles Hew Crooks (pictured), 23, was the ‘visibly upset’ co-pilot aboard the 1983 Aviocar CASA C-212 which made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 29 According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Crooks may have opened the plane’s cockpit at 3,500ft after telling the lead pilot he felt ill.
The small cargo plane, a 1983 CASA C-212 Aviocar, was forced to make an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after losing its right wheel during a previous landing attempt. The plane’s co-pilot on board jumped from the plane after feeling ‘upset’ at the failed landing attempt
According to an NTSB report, Crooks “got up from his seat, removed his helmet, apologized, and exited the aircraft through the rear ramp door.” Pictured: The plane that made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 29
Tuesday’s report said the two pilots had made parachute jumps from Raeford West Airport earlier in the day. They were descending to the airport for a third run when the hard landing occurred.
Crooks was on the approach when the plane “fell down” and both pilots called for a go-around, the report said. Before Crooks could initiate a climb, the right main landing gear struck the runway.
The other pilot took flight controls, the report said. He ordered Crooks to declare an emergency and request a diversion to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for landing.
The pilot told investigators that Crooks became flustered “approximately 20 minutes after the diversion to RDU, after completing approach and emergency briefings,” the report said.
This map shows the area of North Carolina where Crooks’ body was found after the plane he was piloting made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport
Crooks’ body was found 30 miles south of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the trees of a property in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
Earlier this month, an audio recording of two unnamed Federal Aviation Administration employees telling a 911 dispatcher that the damaged plane was heading for the airport was released.
The pilot on board apparently told them at the time that Crooks had “jumped out of the plane”, media reported.
“We have a pilot coming into the field,” a controller told the 911 dispatcher, according to the audio file. “His co-pilot jumped out of the plane. He hit the ground and here are the coordinates.
“All we can do is recover at this point,” FAA staff said when the 911 call ended. “I mean, I don’t know. I’ve never heard…that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard’
The call lasted about 13 minutes, with controllers repeatedly indicating that the co-pilot had jumped out.
Wake County Emergency Management operations chief Darshan Patel said the initial 911 call prompted the search for Crooks.
The plane also sustained significant fuselage damage, the National Transportation Safety Board said in its report.
The plane had damage to its fuselage and landing gear, the National Transportation Safety Board also confirmed in its report.
Hew Crooks’, the 23-year-old’s father, said flying was his son’s “lifetime dream”. He said his son was a former flight instructor and was certified to fly in all types of conditions.
The captain of the plane, whose name has not been released, was slightly injured. He was taken to Duke Hospital before eventually being released. It is in good condition.
In a 40-minute exchange between the unidentified pilot and air traffic control, there is curiously no mention or allusion to Crooks falling from the plane.
The pilot can be heard saying: “Emergency, we have lost our right wheel. We would like to continue to Raleigh and land in Raleigh.
He adds: “We have two people on board. We have enough fuel on board for the next four hours.
Air traffic control responds, “Raleigh-Durham Airport or Raleigh-General?” “Rogers is resuming all shipping to Raleigh-Durham Airport.”
“More specifics, did you try to land on Raeford West?” he asks. ‘Did it [the wheel] fall while still in the air?
“We were trying to land,” the pilot said. “We made contact with the ground and had a hard landing and decided to go around and at that point we lost the wheel.”
When air traffic control asked how they intended to land, the pilot said, “Let’s go as slow as possible and I guess we’ll put it on the belly.” He then repeated that the aircraft’s right wheel had fallen off.
Crooks was a graduate of Bucknall University, where he earned a degree in political science before earning his pilot’s license.
Father Hew Crooks (left) and mother Kate Crooks (second from left) with their son, pilot Charlie Crooks
Several law enforcement agencies were on standby once the plane hit runway 5R-23L at Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 2:40 p.m.
But there was one person on the plane, with no sign of Crooks, the second co-pilot.
The family living on the property where Crooks was later found told local news outlets they heard a loud noise and called the police.
Crooks, the 23-year-old father, said flying was his son’s “lifetime dream” and he was a former flight instructor certified to fly in all types of conditions.
Crooks told WRAL that Crooks recently told him that “he wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world.” He liked where he was.
The plane was owned by Colorado-based Rampart Aviation. The company did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. Crooks started working at the company five months ago, according to his LinkedIn.
The 10-seater aircraft, a CASA C-212 Aviocar, manufactured in Spain in 1983, was not on commercial flight at the time of the incident.