Report: Pilot using wrong flight rules at time of crash - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Report: Pilot using wrong flight rules at time of crash

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - A preliminary report on a fatal plane crash in the Tennessee mountains has found the pilot was using visual flight rules when weather conditions required flying with instruments.

Authorities have said 41-year-old pilot David Starling, his 8-year-old son Hunter, and Starling's girlfriend, 42-year-old Kim Smith died in the crash on Dec. 26 when the single-engine plane went down about 15 miles from the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport. All were from Bradford County, Florida.

The Knoxville News Sentinel ( on Wednesday quoted the National Transportation Safety Board as saying the weather at the time of the crash was such that it required pilots to fly using instrument flight rules.

READ MORE | UPDATE: 3 bodies found in plane crash wreckage in GSMNP

Starling's airman certification from the Federal Aviation Administration shows he wasn't rated to fly with instruments.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel,

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