The cause of a single engine plane that injured a Live Oak man remains undetermined, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The report does indicate, however, that "fuel drained from the airplane had the smell and appearance of automotive gasoline."
Arthur John Gyles was at the controls when the Cessna 172H went down in a cow pasture in Alachua County April 16. The preliminary findings were released last Friday.
Gyles, 73, of 18455 211th Drive, departed from Trails Airport in Mayo. The plane went down for unknown reasons in a cow pasture about a quarter-mile from and in the same direction of an Archer runway, the report said.
The report further indicated that the "ground scar" from the wreckage in the cow pasture was at right angles to the "approach end of runway 18." NTSB said the wreckage path was about 90 feet long.
"Examination revealed that the engine compartment and the (tail) and tail sections were bent in a downward direction, and the nose landing gear was separated," NTSB said. "The flaps were retracted, the carburetor heat was 'on', and the throttle was in the idle position."
Those controls and the yoke were also bent in a downward direction.
Gyles was found in the wreckage of the plane about an hour after it went down, the report said.
"Before he was transported to the hospital, he told a police detective that he did not recall the accident," the report said.
According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane was manufactured in 1967 and registered to Gyles in 2004. It is unclear how many total hours of flight experience he had other than 400 hours as of June 2007.
"The pilot's logbook was not recovered, and his total flight experience could not be determined," said the report.
Gyles was the only person inside the plane. The crash was reported around 5 p.m.
He remained in serious condition as of Wednesday morning, a Shands UF spokeswoman said.