Plane slams into building; pilot killed

By Stephen S. Glass

Star Staff

   The pilot of a small twin engine plane was killed late Tuesday morning in a fiery crash near the Johnson City Airport on Clairmont Road in Johnson City.
   Johnson City Police Department Captain Trent Harris said yesterday that two aircraft were flying in tandem over the airport when the twin-prop plane piloted by Richard Robert White, 43, of Johnson City, clipped a tree and crashed through the Mayes Brothers Tool Manufacturing building near the airport.
   According to Harris, no one from Mayes Brothers was harmed in the crash. White was pronounced dead at the scene.
   "The plane crashed through a storage area in the building that wasn't occupied at the time," said Harris. "It went in through the roof of the building and crashed out through the rear wall before coming to rest in a field just behind the building."
   Harris said investigators found pieces of the plane lodged in the tree struck by White's plane. He would not say what caused the plane to veer into the tree.
   "Right now all we know is that the two planes were side by side making a low pass over the runway when the plane piloted by Mr. White struck the tree," he said. "The investigation isn't over yet."
   According to Harris, an autopsy will be conducted on White by medical examiners at the Quillen School of Medicine in Johnson City.
   The airport has been cordoned off by JCPD. Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive from Florida today to assist local law enforcement and FAA investigators in determining the cause of the cause of the crash.