• Pilot killed in St. Simons Island crash was flying ‘experimental' plane

    By: Michael Yoshida


    A St. Simons Island neighborhood was somber one day after pilot Ron Wood was killed when his plane crashed into a home.

    “I just have a very heavy heart, feeling for his family,” said Ginger Schrimsher, a neighbor.

    “When I heard that, my heart sunk and (I) said 'oh no',” said Jerry Latvala, a friend and fellow pilot.

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    Latvala and Wood were both members of the St. Simons Island chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Latvala told Action News the FAA labels any plane that is built by an individual “experimental,” which is something he calls an unfortunate label.

    “They certainly are not unsafe…They still have to go through the annual inspection just like regular aircraft do, certified aircraft do,” Latvala said.

    The plane Wood was flying was a Murphy Renegade bi-plane.

    “The airplane that he bought had flown before. Ron took 2 to 3 years to reassemble it and fix it,” Latvala said.

    The plane is now going to be examined by the FAA as it tries to find out what caused the crash.

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    “You knew just from seeing the wreckage that it was not going to be a good outcome,” said Schrimsher.

    “It's a risk we all take when we go up in the air and we just try to be wise about it,” Latvala said.

    The airport told Action News that Wood did not register a flight plan because there is no requirement to register a single passenger plane.

    Funeral services for Wood will be Saturday at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church.

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