A pilot involved in a crash Thursday night at Mount Airy-Surry County Airport has been identified.
Chris Gammons was the person injured in the incident, according to Myron Waddell, senior supervisor of Surry County Emergency Services.
Gammons is about 35 and has a Statesville address, Waddell said, and is a former Surry County resident.
He was alone in a BD-5, a small single-engine experimental aircraft, which had left Statesville Municipal Airport and was attempting to land at Mount Airy-Surry County Airport shortly before 7:30 Thursday.
Gammons had to be extricated from the cockpit of the badly damaged craft and was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem. He was complaining of back pain, and possibly suffered a broken back, based on social media sources, which also indicate that Gammons might have no feeling in his legs.
About 40 members of various public safety units in Surry County responded to the scene.
Included was Surry County Haz-Mart, which Sheriff Graham Atkinson said had to contain about a 20-gallon fuel spill from the crash.
Meanwhile, a check of Federal Aviation Administration records revealed that the aircraft Gammons was piloting had its registration canceled last September due to an expiration.
“The FAA will investigate the registration of the aircraft,” Kathleen Bergen, a spokesman for that agency, advised Friday.
Before its deregistration, the plane — a 1976 model — was listed as registered to a resident of Carson City, Nev.
Gammons had posted multiple YouTube videos in the past week showing him flying the experimental plane.
A witness reported that it seemed to experience mechanical difficulty before attempting to land at Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Thursday night and crashing west of a runway down an embankment in a brier thicket.
Representatives of the FAA were on the scene to investigate the mishap Friday, but were tight-lipped about their work here.
“FAA safety inspectors are not available to the media at accident sites,” Bergen explained.
“The FAA also does not provide updates or progress reports on accident investigations. The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates.”
A spokesman for the NTSB said Friday that his agency would rely on information from the FAA in investigating the probable cause of the accident here. “It doesn’t appear that we will be sending anyone,” said Keith Holloway of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Washington office.
The FAA safety inspectors who were at the airport Friday planned to have the wrecked plane moved into a hangar, Sheriff Atkinson said.
Holloway added that the NTSB is not involved with issuing fines or any disciplinary actions in such cases, but determining the cause of the crash. “Our investigation will look at the safety aspect of it,” he said of Thursday night’s incident.
Bergen indicated Friday that what happened here does not signal an inherent problem with experimental planes.
“Experimental and amateur-built aircraft are quite common. According to FAA records, there were 24,800 aircraft in this category as of Dec. 31, 2010, which is the latest-available info I have.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.