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Federal investigators release new details in deadly Jacksboro plane crash

Investigators said the pilot's friend told them he bought the airplane the day before the crash, saying it was his first flight in 20 years.

JACKSBORO, Tenn — Federal investigators released their initial findings in a small plane crash that killed a pilot in Campbell County last month.

According to the Campbell County Emergency Management Agency, a single-engine aircraft crashed around 1 p.m. just outside the Campbell County Airport on Aug. 29. The pilot, James Cole, died in the crash. He was the only person onboard.

The National Transportation Safety Board released its findings on Wednesday, nearly a month after the crash.

It said the pilot was flying an Aeronca 7AC airplane when a witness saw him make a "sharp" turn after takeoff before descending below the tree line. 

The crashed plane was found nose-down in a field near the airport runway. Investigators said the airplane was crushed to the aft cockpit with the engine and avionics instruments destroyed by the impact.

The NTSB said a friend of the pilot told investigators Cole had purchased the plane the day before the crash. The person told them it was the pilot's first flight in 20 years, and that he wanted to "take it up for a flight." 

Cole's brother, Daryl Cole, said the family was notified the afternoon of the crash.

"Man, I sure do miss him," Daryl said. "Already, I miss him. It sure is heartbreaking."

He said he went straight to the airport after learning about the crash.

"It's just so sad that I have to say goodbye to him," he said. "I just wish he hadn't bought the plane."

Cole was one of 12 siblings, and Daryl said he was a skilled pilot who loved to be in the sky whenever he had the chance.

"I think he was the most rambunctious of every one of us. He sure was loved a lot by a lot of people," Daryl said. "He just loved flying. If there was ever anything he could do, it had to do with flying. It was hard to get him to do anything else. Flying was his life. He loved it more than just about anything."

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