A plane struck the treetops near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport Nov. 17 before it crashed, killing the pilot and seriously injuring the passenger, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released Dec. 11.
Robert Carlisle Alberhasky, 68, of Cumming died after his 2015 Lancair International Legacy RG crashed Saturday, Nov. 17.
Mark Lewis, 69, of Flowery Branch was also in the plane and critically injured.
The plane departed Charleston Executive Airport in Charleston, South Carolina en route to Gainesville’s airport.
“A witness in an airplane waiting to takeoff from runway 23 saw the accident airplane approach the runway. He indicated that he saw the landing lights, which ‘became dim and they appeared to roll 180 degrees’ before the accident,” according to the preliminary report.
Lewis reported the airplane “suddenly became inverted” but didn’t remember other details.
When the two were roughly a tenth of a mile from the runway, the plane struck treetops which were about 50 feet tall.
Emergency personnel discovered the single-engine plane had fallen down an embankment along Queen City Parkway.