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Old News Stories
Following copied from THE DALTON CITIZEN
Friday, May 8, 1970


Two Chatsworth brothers were killed about 3:45 yesterday afternoon when their light plane crashed and burned in a rural road ditch, 100 years short of the runway at Dalton Municipal-Jolly Field.

The men were identified as James Edward Tankersley, 34, and Carl Tim Tankersley, 20, both of Chatsworth.

They had been flying about 20 minutes yesterday afternoon when the crash occurred, according to Fred Greeson, who is a pilot at the airport and who was an eye witness to the crash.

Touch and Go

Mr. Greeson said the brothers came in for a touch-and-go landing and that the plane's single engine began to sputter and lose power as it began pulling off the runway. He said that James Tankersley, who was the pilot of the single engine Navion aircraft, turned the plane and had headed back to the runway when it crashed in the rural road ditch about 100 yards short of the runway.

Mr. Greeson said the two men had worked on the 1949-52 model aircraft before taking it up. He said there had been no indications of trouble before the engine began sputtering on the rise from the touch-and-go landing.

He said the aircraft was gaining altitude although the engine was sputtering. He said it made a turn to the left over a wooded area at the end of the runway and had headed back toward the runway.

Gear, Flaps Down

Mr. Greeson said the landing gear and flaps on the plane were down. Both must be down when a plane lands, he said. The plane, which was made during the years 1949-1952 had a retractable landing gear.

He said the plane apparently was not in condition to develop enough horsepower with the drag developed during the turn and with the flaps and gear down to keep it off the ground. He also said that engine stall is greater in a turn.

The plane climbed to an altitude of 150 to 200 feet off the ground before it began the turn and the attempt at a return to the runway.

The plane's engine was folded under and to the left by the impact. One of the landing gears was ripped away and laying in the roadway about 10 feet from the plane.

Mr. Greeson said he was at the hangar at the airport when the crash occurred. He said he jumped into an automobile and was at the crash scene in less than a minute.

Plane on Fire

Upon arriving he found that the engine compartment had been engulfed in flames and that fire had filled the cabin. The plane had four seats.

A truck from the Dalton Fire Department rushed to the scene and extinguished flames. Sgt. Herb Turner of the Georgia State Patrol said there probably would have been an explosion if the flames had not been extinguished as soon as they were.

Answering the call were Fire Chief Luther Broom, Assist Chief J. W. Wiggins, and firemen Frank Collins, Gary Black, and Gary Lock.

Mr. Green said there are two types of airplane crashes, a flying crash and a stalled crash. In a flying crash the plan usually hits the ground and skips. A stalled crash is one in which the plane hits the ground with a single impact.

He said the crash yesterday afternoon was a stalled crash. Indications at the scene were that the left wing apparently hit the ground first. It appears as if the wing had hit the edge of the road approximately 15 feet from the plane's final resting place.

Bodies Removed

The charred bodies of the two men were removed from the wreckage by attendants from Whaley's Ambulance Service who took them to Hamilton Memorial Hospital. The bodies were removed from the plane about 45 minutes after the crash.

Sgt Turner said he was called to the scene to keep spectators back from the plane. He asked the Dalton Fire Department for rope to cordon off the area around the plane.

James Tankersley was an Air Force Veteran and had logged several thousand flying hours. He was a Major.

He had served as a command pilot on a B-52 and also as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He was on leave following a tour of duty in Vietnam and was scheduled to report to Elgin Air Force Base in Florida.

Carl Tim Tankersley was in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. He was also a veteran of Vietnam, with rank of sergeant.

Funeral arrangements are being delayed until the arrival of a brother from Cambodia-Vietnam area.

Survivors include the parents, Mr and Mrs G. C. Tankersley, of Chatsworth, two brothers, Sgt Garland Tankersley in Vietnam and Jerry Tankersley of Chatsworth, one sister, Edna Earl Weyman of Marietta.

Museum Note: Transcribed from old newspaper owned by Tom Patterson, Chatsworth. Thank you!

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