NTSB: Pilot doing flight training across metro Atlanta before Covington crash

Two people died when a small plane crashed near the General Mills factory in Covington on April 21, 2022.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Two people died when a small plane crashed near the General Mills factory in Covington on April 21, 2022.

A private flight instructor was teaching a student pilot when the two died in a fiery crash last month near the Covington Municipal Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the deadly April 21 crash Friday. Two people were killed when a Cessna 340 small twin-engine propeller plane went down near the General Mills manufacturing plant in Covington.

NTSB officials are investigating the crash along with the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to The Covington News, police used dental records to identify the student pilot as Edward Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Lawrenceville man. GBI investigators are working to identify the other victim.

Rodriguez’s partner told NTSB investigators the Lawrenceville man took a commercial flight to Lubbock, Texas, the day before the crash to meet the flight instructor, the report stated. The instructor told Rodriguez he could teach him how to fly the plane.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said last month that the pair were practicing “touch and go” landing operations when the plane went down April 21.

FAA radar showed the Cessna took off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta at 4:40 p.m. on the day of the crash. It arrived at the Gwinnett County Airport at Briscoe Field at 4:50 p.m., and departed the Lawrenceville airport 22 minutes later. At 5:31, the aircraft showed up at Lumpkin County-Wimpey’s Airport in Dahlonega, according to the FAA tracking.

The plane departed from there at 6:13 p.m., headed to Covington Municipal Airport.

According to the NTSB report, multiple witnesses saw the plane make a “hard right” banking turn just before it spiraled down and crashed about a nautical mile southeast of the airport.

The plane plummeted along Industrial Park Boulevard, just off I-20, and crashed into a lot on the General Mills property where unoccupied semi-auto trailers were stored.

It collided with three of the big rigs and exploded on impact, causing a significant post-crash fire that engulfed at least five trailers, according to NTSB officials.

NTSB is expected to release its final report, which will include a probable cause for the crash, in 12 to 24 months.