UPDATE: No clear cause for Collegedale plane crash that claimed - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: No clear cause for Collegedale plane crash that claimed 3 lives

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Todd Silver in his plane's cockpit. Todd Silver in his plane's cockpit.
COLLEGEDALE, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The four-page National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report described abnormal maneuvers as the plane tried to land at the Collegedale Municipal Airport. 

The crash killed the pilot, Todd Silver, his mother and young son and seriously injured his 12-year-old daughter as they traveled here from Fort Lauderdale for a family reunion. 

The report states they made a stop about 200 miles away in Pine Mountain, Georgia before the crash that day. 

A man who lives near the runway and called 911 originally thought the plane was taking off when it crashed but the preliminary report cites a flight instructor in the air near Collegedale reported seeing the plane come in for a landing, making some sharp turns, before dropping nose-first beside the runway. 

That instructor heard no calls for help on the radio. 

Family members are updating a fundraising site with information on the sole survivor of that crash, Gabrielle Silver, 12. She's still in a Chattanooga hospital undergoing therapy and getting stronger every day. 

It could take up to a full year before the NTSB releases the full report of the crash including what caused the plane to go down. 


PREVIOUS STORY: The National Transportation Safety Board released their preliminary report on the Collegedale plane crash that claimed three lives earlier this month.

The report does not state a primary reason why the plane crashed.

A flight instructor at the airport, flying with a student pilot, told investigators that he observed the plane piloted by Todd Silver on a "short final approach to runway 3."

No communication was reported between the airport and Silver's plane, according to the flight instructor.

Silver's plane was "seen [making] a climbing left turn, near the departure end of runway 3, approximately 80 to 100 feet above the ground. The airplane then made a steep 45 to 60-degree bank to the right, with a nose high attitude. As it progressed through the turn, the airplane's nose dropped and it began a slow 270-degree rotation at a high decent rate."

Additionally, the NTSB report says that the plane's fuel selector switch was set to the left wing's fuel tank, which was found with approximately 15 gallons of fuel.

The right wing fuel tank was found to be empty, according to the report.

Both the oil suction and fuel servo inlet screens were free from debris, according to the report.

Weather conditions were considered to be favorable the day of the crash, with calm winds, visibility of 10 miles and temperatures of 93 degrees.

The sole survivor of the plane crash, 12-year-old Gabrielle is improving, according to updates from her mother, Jennifer Moritz:

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! And His mercy endures forever!

Gabi is more awake and wants all the stuff off of her - we stand guard here 24/7 for now. (Little hands are quick) She is strong ??
Only thing left today is feeding tube for nutrition and medicine and bp cuff. She is sad so please pray for her little heart and mind to be comforted (still don't know what she knows). 

They are talking about maybe moving her to a room on the floor - they are also scheduling her inpatient rehab - so we are excited! It's a lot of work around here now - I will happily be caretaker now as she recovers - potentially a long road with head injury - I'm up for it! 

Thank you all for continued prayers as we move forward with the Lord in this change of season?? 
With love,
Gabi's mommy Jen


PREVIOUS STORY: Funeral arrangements have been announced for the three victims of the small plane crash at the Collegedale airport.

Gerhard Stefan Silver was the son of Todd Silver and Jennifer Moritz. He was born June 14, 2002 and died June 11, 2016. He is survived by his sister Gabriella, mom Jennifer, and grandma Vivian. Funeral services will be 6:30pm Thursday, June 16th, 2016 at the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. 

Todd Sterling Silver, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida died Sunday, June 12, 2016. He was the owner and founder of the international company Todd's Canopies and had a deep passion for flying. Todd is survived by his wife, Tetiana Silver; daughters Kelly Silver, Amelia Silver, and Gabriella Silver; brothers Perry and Steven Silver; sister Ellen Young, and many more family members. Funeral services are 6:30pm Thursday, June 16th, 2016 at the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.

Suzanne Joyce Silver, 79, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., died Saturday, June 11, 2016. She was born in Minneapolis, MN, on July 26, 1936, and was the oldest child of Homer and Lucille Opstad. Suzanne graduated from Austin High School, Austin, MN, in 1955 and Swedish Massage School, Chicago, IL in 1968. She has been massaging for the past 48 years. Her passions were family and traveling the world to learn new massage techniques. Suzanne is survived by her children, Perry Silver, of Corte Madera, CA, Ellen Young, of Yreka, CA, and Steven Silver, of Massillon, OH. She also had nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Services will be held on Thursday, June 16th, 2016, at 6:30pm at the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.

You can view the services through a live stream set up on the church's web site here.


PREVIOUS STORY: Todd Silver, the pilot of the Mooney M20-E small plane that crashed Saturday at the Collegedale Airport has succumbed to his injuries, according to his company's website.

Silver's funeral services will be Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Collegedale Church, at 4829 College Drive E, Collegedale, TN, 37315.


PREVIOUS STORY: We continue to learn more about the moments following the weekend plane crash that killed two people. 911 records obtained by Channel 3 show an eyewitness and airport employee called to report the crash that happened shortly after 12:30 Saturday at the Collegedale Airport.

“A guy just flew in and had said a plane crashed off the end of the runway. If you're taking off runway three it crashed off it,” said a caller.

READ MORE | Eyewitness calls 911 after Collegedale plane crash

We have since learned the pilot out of Florida was badly injured, along with his young daughter. Silver's son and mother died in the crash.

Each summer students from South Plantation High School compete in the annual Solar Car Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. They say they couldn't have taken home the bronze medal without the help and support of Todd Silver, the pilot from Saturday’s crash in Collegedale.

“We could not find anybody, anywhere, that did anything like this,” said Janna Hunt. She worked with Todd Silver helping students at South Plantation High School build a solar car. Students are thankful for the time Todd Silver invested in them. “He was a true mentor to the Solar Knights Racing Team. With that we were able to produce something really extraordinary.”

Silver was flying his 4 seater plane when it crashed Saturday at the Collegedale Airport. Silver's young son and mother died in the crash, that left his daughter in critical condition. “Tragic, it's tragic. It's sad, tragic. You can feel it. It's terrible, it's terrible,” said one eyewitness.

Silver is the owner of Todd’s Canopies. He helped design an award winning solar car for students at a local Florida high school. “He came to the school multiple times, created a frame, taught the kids how to do fiberglass. Pretty much how to do things from beginning to end,” said Hunt.

Former NTSB chairman, Jim Hall says the Mooney M20-E could have crashed for many reasons. The NTSB and FAA will do a thorough investigation. “The majority of these accidents are human error or maintenance, problems with the aircraft,” said Hall.

Eyewitnesses say they believe Silver may have been returning to the airport immediately after takeoff. Hall says by the way the plane fell, that's a possibility. “Certainly was a flat impact which might indicate there was an attempt to land the aircraft and it was unsuccessful.”

As both the Collegedale and Fort Lauderdale communities try to understand this tragedy students are reflecting on how Silver helped get them so far. To them he's more than a pilot he's a teacher. “Quirky personality, but has the biggest heart. He really loved teaching the kids, teaching them things they would never learn in school,” said Hunt.

It could be six months to a year before we learn the cause of the crash. Funeral arrangements are still pending for Suzanne Silver and Todd Silver's son -- whose name has not been released.

Both Todd and his daughter are still listed in critical condition at Erlanger. 

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


Aviation officials spent the early part of Sunday surveying what's left of the single-engine plane that crashed Saturday at the Collegedale Airport. They hope the wreckage will help determine what caused the 4-seater Mooney M20-E to go down.

“They are going to look at how it impacted, they are going to look at what the propeller blades looked like. Was there an indication of the power on these blades when they hit,” said Dan Barks.

Collegedale police now say two of the four people on board were killed. The pilot, Todd Silver from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, survived and is in critical condition at a local hospital. 

READ MORE | UPDATE: Collegedale plane crash in kills 2, injures 2 others

“It is very, very sad, my family sends out condolences and prayers to all the families involved in this crash,” said Bob Etheridge, a witness to the crash.

FAA records shows Silver purchased the aircraft last spring. Not only does he enjoy flying planes, he also enjoys working on them. He's the owner of Todd’s Canopies. It is a business that designs and fits different kinds of aircrafts with canopies.

On his public Facebook page, he recently posted pictures of a trip to Key West in the same plane that crashed in Collegedale.

”Unfortunate, you're thinking of the families that are waiting for loved ones to come home and may not see them tonight. That’s the price of these crashes,” said Barks.

Eyewitnesses say they saw Silver struggling to reach altitude and could quickly tell something was wrong. Bob Etheridge believes the plane may have been returning to the airport immediately following take off due to some kind of issue.

“Circling rather quickly maybe the pilot was trying to come back. Unfortunate he didn't make it,” said the Etheridge.

As officials comb through the wreckage for answers, news of this deadly accident is still sinking in.

“Tragic, it's sad, it's tragic. You can feel it. It's terrible.. it's terrible,” said one neighbor.

Silver was flying with his mother, Suzanne Silver, and his two children, a boy and girl when the crash happened.

Silver's mother and son were pronounced dead on the scene.

Silver and his daughter were flown to a local hospital where they were listed in critical condition as of Saturday. 

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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