SOLANO COUNTY (CBS13) – The Solano County Coroner’s Office on Thursday identified the pilot who was killed in a small plane crash near Winters on Wednesday.
Jerffrey L. Sharman, 68, of Vacaville was killed when his experimental plane lost a wing and crashed Wednesday afternoon just off Interstate 505 in Winters.
Distraught friends called him an expert pilot who’d flown for decades. However, witnesses say he didn’t have a chance when his plane, literally, fell apart in mid-air.
“I heard the engine making a weird sound up there, and when I look up in the sky, he was spiraling down,” witness Gordon Kemp said.
Kemp couldn’t believe what he was watching as a wing came off and landed in the Interstate 505 center divider.
“I see him coming down, and then I lost track, and then I knew he hit the ground,” Kemp said.
“It just torpedoed into the ground,” neighbor Carol English said.
The pilot wouldn’t survive the impact after his Avions Fairey Tipsy Nipper T-66 crashed. According to one expert, there are only a few dozen flown worldwide.
California Highway Patrol said Sharman was coming from the Yolo County Airport and heading for the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville. The crash near Wolfskill Road and Interstate 505 came at the halfway point.
“It’s pretty sad,” said English.
She is used to seeing small planes in the area.
“Late afternoon, they’re out. One or two, you’re wondering what’re they doing up there, like he said, stalling or practicing,” said English.
She’s never seen something so horrific as this.
Federal Aviation Administration records show the single-seat plane’s tail number “N1959N” was registered to Vacaville aircraft shipping company Sharman Enterprises. Sharman’s website said he moved to California from South Africa in 1986.
The Solano County Fire Department said the pilot was found dead on arrival.