The crash scene was approximately 1.2 miles from Highway 62/412 east of Salem, off Peace Valley Road.
Charles Cummings, 71, was the pilot and only person in the plane. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Fulton County Coroner Steve Barker.
Cummings owns property in Cherokee Village and according to Larry Kyral, airport manager has an airplane storage hangar at the Sharp County Regional Airport. Kyral said that at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, Cummings flew out of the Sharp County Airport. It is not known if Cummings was flying to a specific destination or was simply flying the small plane for enjoyment.
According to Kyral, the remains of the plane are at a salvage company in Clinton where the Federal Aviation Authority along with the National Transportation Safety Board will continue their investigation into the crash.
Because the plane was a two-passenger plane, an extensive search of the area was conducted to determine if more than one person could have been in the plane.
Carol Dunn who lives near the crash site said she was at work until around noon and wasn't aware anything had happened. She said her daughter, Amanda Burgess, was heading to the house when she noticed a number of firetrucks and first responders turning into her mother's road. Burgess said she thought they were responding to a fire but later learned it was a plane crash.
Crash scene debris covered a large area in the field. One wing of the plane was in a pond approximately 200 yards from the plane's remains. The other wing was found about 100 yards from the plane.
A large hole where the nose of the plane apparently hit the ground was found several yards away from the plane's remains with the crumpled metal of the nose almost unrecognizable.
The fixed wing, 4 cycle single-engine plane was manufactured by Zenith Aircraft in 2007 according to an FAA registry report. The FAA classification of the plan is listed as experimental.
The NTSB issued an urgent recommendation to the FAA in April of this year to ground all Zodiac CH-601XL planes because the planes have been found to break apart in flight.
"The NTSB does not often recommend that all airplanes of a particular type be prohibited from further flight," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker in an earlier press release. "In this case, we believe such action will save lives. Unless the safety issues with this particular Zodiac model are addressed, we are likely to see more accidents in which pilots and passengers are killed in airplanes that they believed were safe."
Ten fatalities have been reported in six accidents that occurred between February 2006 and March 2009. All were attributed to in-flight structural failures. Aerodynamic flutter -- a phenomenon in which control surfaces of the airplane can suddenly vibrate, and if unmitigated, can lead to catastrophic structural failure -- is suspected in all of the accidents.
The investigation into the Cummings crash is ongoing and has not been confirmed that these problems were related to the crash in any way.
More information on the NTSB's recommendation can be found by going to www.diamondpilots.blogspot.com under the Popular Pages Today section.