By Robert McCabe
Correction: Due to a source error, the names of the pilot and passenger were misspelled in an earlier version. They have been corrected below.
A small, single-engine experimental plane crashed in a field Saturday, killing the pilot and a passenger.
The crash occurred about a third of a mile west of a runway at Suffolk Executive Airport, roughly three miles southwest of downtown.
The aircraft had attempted to land several times when it crashed, killing both occupants on impact, according to the Virginia State Police.
State police on Sunday identified the men killed. The pilot and owner was Barry Raymond Newgent, 73, of Davidsonville, Md. The passenger was Thomas Barry Newgent, 51, of Westminister, Md.
Emergency crews were dispatched at 1:01 p.m. Saturday and were on the scene in seven minutes, said Diana Klink, a city spokeswoman. The crash site lies near Southside Trailer Court in the 1000 block of Carolina Road.
“I just heard a big boom, like a big shotgun sound,” said Tony Fowler, 21, who lives about half a mile from the crash site.
It sounded “sort of like a bomb going off,” said Scott Proctor Jr., 12, who was in his room at his home on Carolina Road.
Gabrielle Looney, 20, who lives in a mobile home a few hundred yards from the crash site, said the sound of the impact led her to think “it was going to be a tractor-trailer crash” on Carolina Road.
The 16th annual Festival of Flight – a two-day, fly-in event sponsored by the Virginia Aviation Council, a nonprofit group that promotes aviation education – began Saturday morning at Suffolk Executive Airport. Ray Batton, president of the council, said the plane and its occupants had not registered and were unknown to event organizers.
Registration for the event is available online or on the field, according to a program for the event, which is described as “2 days of Airplanes & Family Fun from Ultralights to Multiengine!”
While the event has drawn hundreds of aircraft some years, this weekend’s festival drew “way less than 100 planes,” Batton said.
“Our event is totally weather-dependent,” said DeWitt Whittington, a spokesman for the group who said the festival is geared for “fair-weather flying.”
Low clouds and windy conditions contributed to make Saturday “a terrible day” for the kinds of light aircraft that tend to come to the event, Whittington said.
The event continued Sunday.