Flight instructor: Pilot killed in crash was experienced

A flight instructor who taught the pilot killed in Tuesday's crash says Kenneth Thode was an experienced pilot.

Bill Leppert says he taught Thode three years ago. Leppert says Thode has had instrument rating qualifications for two years. Leppert says that requires much more training than your standard pilot's license.

He says Thode stayed in a vacation home in the Grand Strand area during the winter. "He's a guy that was attentive to detail. He was meticulous in how he cared for his plane. He was partially retired. He'd come down here to vacation, fly frequently back and fourth from Massachusetts. So he's got pretty good experience for a private pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board is waiting for pilot records from the Federal Aviation Administration that detail Thode's flight history.


Earlier story - Pilot killed in crash identified

The pilot of the Cessna 172 Sky Hawk that crashed into an RV Tuesday afternoon has been identified as Kenneth Thode, 62, from Plymouth, Massachusetts. The plane registered to him. The coroner's office doesn't know why he was on the Grand Strand at this point.

The family of the women in the RV that was hit was identified Tuesday night as Eva Sullivan, 70, of Sunappe, New Hampshire. Her family members have arrived at the scene of the crash.

The NTSB is holding a news conference at 2 p.m. at the site of the crash. We will carry that news conference live right here on and on WPDE NewsChannel 15.

The NTSB examined the engine of the plane this morning. Investigators reassembled the plane, putting smaller pieces on a table and the bigger pieces in an empty RV lot.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says NTSB investigators will be on scene at the crash site for two to three days. The City of North Myrtle Beach are providing police services at the site. Dowling says the city's public works department will provide a bucket truck to assist in the removal of parts of the plane from the tree involved in the crash.

Early reports from witnesses were that the plane clipped the tree before exploding and crashing.


Earlier story:

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived at the RV park in North Myrtle Beach where a plane crashed into an RV, killing the pilot and a woman in the RV.

Investigators haven't been able to comment on their investigation. They are going through the wreckage, collecting evidence like shards of metal from the plane.

North Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling told NewsChannel 15, "They plan to look at what's right with the plane and whatever falls out from there, they're going to look at what went wrong." He went on to say they'll look at everything from the pilot's health to his experience to possible problems with the plane.

Horry County Coroner Robert Edge was on scene for a short time Wednesday morning, collecting bone fragments for proof of a identity of the victims. Tuesday night, he released the name of the woman killed in the RV. She is Eva Sullivan, 70, from New Hampshire. Edge may release the identity of the pilot around 10 a.m.

People in the RV park are watching the investigation, many still numb from witnessing Tuesday's crash.

The NTSB says the Cessna 172 Sky Hawk dropped of the radar at 1:07 Tuesday afternoon. The RV park where the plane crashed was just half mile from the runway.

You can read a previous story here.

You can watch witness video of the aftermath of the crash here.

The NTSB plans to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. We'll bring you that information here on