CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report Tuesday on the fatal WBTV News helicopter crash that killed a beloved local pilot and Charlotte-area news meteorologist.
NTSB’s recent findings state that on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 11:57 a.m., a Robinson Helicopter R44, N7094J, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Interstate-77 in Charlotte.
Authorities said the commercial pilot, identified as Chip Tayag, and one passenger, identified as Meteorologist Jason Myers, were killed in the daytime crash.
The helicopter was operated “as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight,” the NTSB said.
“The purpose of the flight was to provide training for the staff meteorologist over a simulated
news scene. Radar, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast data, and surveillance video revealed that the helicopter departed from the WBTV Heliport at 11:50 a.m. and proceeded southbound for about five minutes until over Interstate-77,” the NTSB said.
NTSB’s preliminary report shows the pilot then performed three left 360° turns. During the third turn, the helicopter entered a rapid descent and impacted a grassy area adjacent to the southbound lanes of Interstate-77.
“The pilot was in contact with Charlotte air traffic control tower at the time; however, a review of the communication recordings did not reveal any calls of distress,” the NTSB stated.
Authorities said WBTV’s helicopter came to rest about 20 feet from the point of initial impact and oriented on a heading of 015°. There was no fire, they said.
“Portions of the landing gear were found within the initial impact crater. All the primary structural components and rotor blades were located within the confines of the main wreckage,” the NTSB said.
The wreckage has been retained for further examination, the NTSB stated.
The probable cause of the crash will be released in the “final report” which could take one to two years to be completed by the NTSB.