BY BRIAN JONES

brian.jones@packet-media.com

ABERDEEN – The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its preliminary report in the plane crash that killed two men, including Columbus businessman John Nuesch, on March 28.

The report, released last week, says that the Mooney M20J was en route to Madison, but crashed about a minute after its 6:14 a.m. takeoff. The wreckage was found about 2,500 southwest of the runway in a heavily wooded area.

According to the report, no video footage of the plane was captured but cameras at the airport did pick up its engine noise, which was uninterrupted throughout the short flight. The plane apparently climbed to about 600 feet of altitude and then descended in a right turn until it struck trees.

It traveled for about 400 feet through the trees, losing its wings, tail and about a third of the cockpit before coming to rest against a tree, upside down and at about a 45-degree angle to the ground.

There was no fire and no explosion.

The pilot, Richard Justice, was a commercial pilot with a flight instructor certificate. He had over 20,000 hours of total flight experience, and his most recent medical certificate was issued March 9. The plane had undergone its most recent annual inspection on March 23, the report said.

A previous statement from Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley said that Justice died from the crash and not from another medical issue.

The crash remains under investigation.