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More Training Needed

A CASA C-212-200 transport plane declared an emergency and requested to land at the Raleigh-Durham (N.C.) International Airport. The C-212 is a twin-engine cargo plane, which has also been used by U.S. Special Forces for skydiving missions and training. The one in question is owned by a private contractor that does civilian and military pilot training. The pilot said the plane lost a wheel after takeoff. There was a more serious issue: the co-pilot had “exited” the aircraft — at around 3,800 feet — without a parachute. The exact nature of that departure is being investigated, but as first responders searched for him on the ground, a man interrupted to say he had “heard something” in his backyard. There, rescuers found the body of Charles Hew Crooks, 23, of Raleigh. He landed 20 miles from the airport. The plane was met at the airport by multiple emergency vehicles, whose crews watched as the plane veered off the runway due to the damaged landing gear. The pilot was hospitalized with minor injuries. (RC/Raleigh News & Observer, WRAL Raleigh) ...And has an awful lot of questions to answer.
Story Update: The medical examiner found no alcohol or drugs in Crooks’ system, and ruled his death an accident. The plane was being used for sport skydiving.
Original Publication Date: 31 July 2022
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 29.

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