A 2009 plane crash in Centre, Alabama that killed a prominent businessman was caused by a rudder control tube that wasn’t proprely installed.  That’s the rulling by the NTSB after a lengthy investigation into the crash.

On April 4, 2009, Harly McGatha who owned a construction business was killed when his plane attempted to take off from the Centre Airport. 

Witnesses reported that during takeoff the airplane climbed to approximately 20 to 50 feet, rolled to the left, and then descended and collided with powerlines and a house.

When NTSB investigators examined the plane, they found the right rudder pedal was missing the cable attachment bolt, nut and cotter pin. The plane’s manufacturer, American Champion, said that the model does not come with a push pull tube system from the factory.

An active community citizen, McGatha helped secure funding for Centre’s new airport. His construction firm built the South Rome Boys and Girls Club, and McGatha donated $100,000 of his own money to the project.

Cherokee Herald / AM 1180