The plane that two central Ohio men died in on Monday dropped nearly vertically out of the sky, crashing into a shed about a mile east of the runway of the airport in Lakeland, Fla., a federal investigator said.
"The airplane was destroyed by the impact and the post-crash fire," said Tim Monville, senior air-safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in Florida.
Monville said determining the cause of the crash might take some time. The Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Safety Board were examining the plane's engine yesterday.
Monville is in the process of gathering records and compiling a history of the plane and its pilot, Terrence A. Sack, 61, of Dublin. Complete autopsy results won't be available for a couple of months.
Sack, a civil engineer, and Roger L. Caldwell, 56, of Blacklick, were killed.
Caldwell was a master sergeant and aircraft mechanic with the Air National Guard based at Rickenbacker Airport.
Sack was the president and owner of Burgess & Niple, one of the nation's largest civil-engineering firms with more than 600 employees in eight states and based in Columbus.
Sack built the four-seat, single-engine plane, according to federal aviation records. He and Caldwell, a friend, were on their way to the Sun 'N Fun Fly-In, an annual civilian air show in Lakeland, when the plane crashed about 2:15 p.m. Monday.
Neighbors said Sack was in the process of building another plane, a two-seater from a kit. He was building it in his garage on Phoenix Park Drive.
"He had to rivet it all together," said Ron Widman, who lives across the street. "He kept the wings above the garage door."
"This is a very sad loss," Burgess & Niple Chairman Ron Schultz said in a prepared statement. "Terry was an intelligent and thoughtful leader. He placed personal and professional integrity above all else."
Sack's expertise was in design and project management of water and sewage facilities, highways, sewers and landfills. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cleveland State University and a master's degree in public management from Case Western Reserve University. He joined Burgess & Niple in 1968 and became president in 2000.
The FAA certified the plane as safe to fly in June 2002.
Caldwell was a full-time employee of the Air National Guard's 121st Air Refueling Wing. He had worked his way up through the ranks during his 34 years with the Guard and recently had been selected to work on a project modifying the refueling tankers flown by pilots. He also had served in Iraq.
"His skills were such and his knowledge was such that he was perfect for this project," said Col. Jim Pfaff, Caldwell's former supervisor. "He was one of our best."
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