COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) - The plane that crashed into a home in Columbus, injuring the two on board, had mechanical issues in the past. The pilot and builder of the plane thought he had those issues fixed, which was the reason for his test flight Thursday morning.
Tom Vickers volunteers every Tuesday with 81-year-old pilot Gerald Clayton at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. He had talked to Gerald about his homemade plane several times.
"Jerry was going to fly it before he put it up for sale," Vickers said.
Vickers says Clayton built the plane himself years ago, and had only had problems with it in 2011.
In October of that year, the plane was at the Decatur Airport in Illinois when its fuel needed to be drained and the wings removed. Part of the tail had to be removed as well.
Later that day, 24-Hour News 8 is told the plane was taken away on a flat bed.
"He said he had intentions to sell it once it was repaired properly," Vickers told 24-Hour News 8.
Vickers says Clayton had found an FAA certified maintenance man to fix the problem, and he told him he had to fly it before the end of the month, when his certification expired.
"But, Gerald was very meticulous toward the plane and the procedures, and with everything he did," Vickers said.
Larry Ruble knows Clayton and lives across from the house where his plane landed. He was among the first on the scene.
"Nicest guy on the planet too so your heart just sank," Ruble said.
Larry said he and his wife tried to hose down the pilot, passenger and plane. He saw Clayton's back on fire, but said Gerald was more concerned about his passenger than himself -- a characteristic of Clayton.
"I think it's awesome that Gerald somehow, only hit the corner of that house, because if you look at this neighborhood he could have plowed into several people," Ruble said.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for Central Indiana through Friday night. Southern counties will be under a winter storm warning beginning Thursday night through Friday night.
Employees at some Indianapolis fast food restaurants took part in a 100-city strike Thursday morning.
The city of Anderson has created a committee to determine if a deteriorating 9,000-seat former high school gymnasium known as the Wigwam can be saved.