COVINGTON, Ga. — The student pilot and flight instructor who were killed in a fiery Covington plane crash last month had recently met each other, according to a report released Friday.
The small Cessna 340 twin engine plane exploded on impact when it crashed near the General Mills global food plant on April 21, Ken Malcom of Covington Police told 11Alive at the time.
There were no survivors. Both the student pilot and the private pilot on board were killed.
According to the newly released report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the student pilot's partner told investigators the student pilot and the private pilot had only recently met.
She said the pair flew to Texas on a commercial airline to pick up the plane the day before they were killed.
"On the day of the accident, the student pilot intended to begin flight training with his flight instructor," the report reads.
Preliminary radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the plane departed from Dekalb-Peachtree Airport and stopped at two more small airports — Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville and Lumpkin County Wimpey’s Airport in Dahlonega — before heading for Covington Municipal Airport.
But the plane never made it to Covington's airport.
The report states multiple witnesses saw the aircraft make a "hard right" banking turn before spiraling downward, then crashing into a row of parked, empty semitruck trailers near the General Mills plant.
"Parking lot surveillance video revealed the airplane descending in a right spin at the time of the impact," the report states.
The cockpit, instrument panel, all fuel lines, and ignition wiring on both engines were destroyed by post-impact fire, according to the report.
"Obviously this is a devastating crash," Malcolm said. "There are no survivors."
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said the wreck happened as a pilot was practicing "touch and go" landings.
General Mills issued a statement following the incident, announcing that no employees were harmed from the crash.
"A small plane crashed near the General Mills Covington, GA manufacturing facility." The company said. "No employees were harmed and we're partnering with the FAA and local law enforcement."
The identities of the people aboard have not yet been released.