Cause of weekend plane crash at Rowan Airport unknown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

No details were available Monday about the cause of a weekend plane crash at the Rowan County Airport where an instructor and trainee received minor injuries.
The instructor, Randy Fleming, and trainee, Vibha Chanora, were traveling in a 1971 Piper 140 aircraft when it crashed during landing around noon Saturday.
Rowan County Emergency Services Director Frank Thomason said something occurred that caused the plane to veer off the runway. Once the plane veered off the runway and off the pavement, it crashed. Both were taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and later transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as a precautionary measure. Fleming was released Saturday and hospital officials did not have any records of Chanora listed.
The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation. An investigator said he has not spoken with the pilot and a report could not be submitted until he was able to do so. The investigator said he was also investigating other aviation accidents, including a fatality. More details are expected to be released later today.
Richard Franklin, the owner of the aircraft, said he has an idea of what happened, but won’t speculate. Franklin is owner of Julep Arbor Flying LLC, and said he’ll wait for the official report. Franklin said his airplanes are leased for flying instruction. He expects an insurance adjuster to make the final determination later this week, but believes the plane is beyond repair.
He’s talked with Fleming, but has not yet spoken with Chanora. He confirmed both were released Saturday night from the hospital. Franklin said officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were on hand Monday to look over the aircraft, but he did not elaborate about any findings.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.