Report: Pilot had engine issues, asked to land before Rock County crash

Plane crash investigation in Town of Rock (Credit: WMTV)

One of two pilots who were killed when a small plane crashed near Janesville reported engine issues and asked to land before the plane went down, according to a preliminary federal report.

The Feb. 16 crash killed Remington Viney, a staff sergeant with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, and Tanner Byholm, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report said the Velocity V-twin, which is described as an experimental, amateur-built airplane, departed from Appleton International Airport on the morning of the crash and was bound for Florida. The plane landed at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport to fuel up. One minute and 16 seconds after takeoff, one of the pilots asked for permission to turn around and land, saying they needed to "work through some engine issues."

An air traffic controller asked if assistance was needed, to which a pilot, who was not identified, replied, "no sir, we should be fine," the report said. No other radio communication was received from the plane.

"The air traffic controller on duty saw the airplane south of the airport just prior to impact," the report said. "He stated that when the airplane was just beyond the trees, he saw it begin to circle left."

The air traffic controller reported seeing the airplane’s "bank angle" increase and the nose of the plane "was almost pointed down toward the ground," the report said.

A witness about half a mile from the crash site reported hearing a "loud roar" and saw the plane with its nose at an estimated 80-degree downward pitch, the report said. The man saw the plane disappear behind trees, and the engine noise stopped.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

Officials identify 2 victims of Rock County plane crash

The Rock County Medical Examiner’s Office has released the names of the two victims who died in a plane crash earlier this week near Janesville.