The release of a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board is shedding light on a plane crash that claimed the lives of a couple who wintered at their home in The Villages.
Robert and Sandra Denton, who split their time between The Villages and Michigan, were killed when their single-engine Cessna 177B crashed in a field April 26 near Watkinsville, Ga. Both couples were pilots and were described as “seasoned” flyers. They were within 15 minutes of their destination when their plane went down in a field owned by the University of Georgia. They had flown out of the airport in Leesburg.
The report said the pilot and the tower were communicating for the couple’ approach to the airport. The tower advised the plane to correct its heading and altitude. While waiting for other traffic to clear, the tower told the pilot to turn and gain altitude. When a new heading was given, the pilot did not respond back, the report states. Radar contact was lost shortly after. Emergency crews found the wreckage of the plane in an open farm field about 1.2 miles northwest of Watkinsville. The NTSB report indicated the plane’s right wing was found in the woods nearly a thousand feet away. Its flap was found at the top of a tree.