It has been confirmed that the three people in the Piper PA-28 airplane that crashed in a field near Warren County Memorial Airport in Minniville Tennessee, north east of Nashville, were all Air National Guard members. Little is known at this stage about the cause of the crash, but observers seem to think the light plane was trying to return to the airport shortly after it had taken off.
The three people aboard the plane were not on active service as they had a scheduled day-off and apparently went on the flight for “fun.” It is not clear who was the pilot in the plane. All were members of the 118th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group.
The Piper PA-28 is a single engine plane, meaning that if a plane of this type develops engine trouble, there is no chance of using another engine to help effect a safe landing. Pilots are normally trained to know what alternatives they may have recourse to if a plane develops engine problems or fails to respond to controls.
The plane was owned by a private non-profit flying club, the Lebanon Flying Club, based at Lebanon Municipal Airport.
An understanding of what went wrong near McMinniville on Tuesday morning, 8th September, will have to wait until an investigation is carried out by specialized airplane crash investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).