KNOX COUNTY - The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report into a fatal crash involving a powered parachute in Knox County.
Pilot Stanley Decoursey, 58, died as a result of the April 2 crash into a wooded area near Barharbor Way in Farragut. His passenger, 54-year-old Kenneth Atkins, suffered serious injuries.
The flight began around 2:44 p.m. from a private, grass airstrip.
According to the NTSB report, about 45 minutes into the flight Decoursey overflew Atkins' home and then started maneuvering the aircraft to the east, over rising terrain and trees.
The powered parachute didn't seem to be climbing quickly enough to clear the trees and its landing gear hit about three trees before dropping into the woods, striking tree limbs on the way down, the NTSB report explained.
Atkins was able to get out of his seat, but couldn't walk. First responders found him at the scene and transported him to the hospital.
He told the NTSB that he wasn't aware of any problems with the engine before the accident.
Investigators said the aircraft was found in an upright position in a forested area and the landing gear remained attached to the frame. They noted there hadn't been any fire. The parachute and lines were adjacent to the frame and entangled with broken tree branches.
The aircraft was a Buckeye Aviation Dream Machine, which is a single-engine, tandem-cockpit powered parachute with a fixed, tricycle landing gear. Maintenance records revealed it was built in 2004 and had about 139 hours of use since then.
Decoursey held a sport pilot certificate, which is required to fly a powered parachute with a passenger. He did not have a Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate.
He had logged about 90 hours of total flight experience in Buckeye powered parachutes, according to his pilot logbook.
Both men were wearing helmets.
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