Report: Pilot reported engine trouble before fatal crash in Kentucky field

Published 5:39 am Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The pilot of a small experimental plane reported engine trouble before the aircraft crashed in eastern Kentucky killing him, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pilot Timothy Michael Pankiewicz, 62, had flown out of Green Cove Springs, Florida, where he lived, the agency said in its report, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The pilot declared an emergency in the experimental, amateur-built Rans RV-8 as he flew over Breathitt County on May 24, telling an air traffic controller the engine had lost oil pressure and failed, the report said.

The controller told Pankiewicz about an airport three miles away, but Pankiewicz said he couldn’t see it and decided to try landing in a field, according to the NTSB report. A witness told the NTSB the plane was smoking as it flew over a mountain before it hit the ground. The wreckage was ablaze when emergency officials arrived, according to a news release.

Official findings on the cause of the crash weren’t issued and could takes months, the newspaper reported.