HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) - The owner of the plane, which was crashed in Henderson, says it was taken without permission.
Two men were found dead in the plane Wednesday morning at the City-County airport just after 7 a.m. KSP says those men have been identified as 47-year-old Barry A. Hill and 48-year-old George Tucker, both from Sanford, NC.
State police say neither Hill or Tucker were certified pilots and the plane they were flying was from the Rome, NC area and believed to have been either stolen or the men were unauthorized to use it.
Tri-State pilot Gary Ervin has been flying for nearly 40 years. He tell us the path from North Carolina to Kentucky was roughly 450 nautical miles, and likely would’ve been a two-a-half to three hour flight which is no path for a novice.
“All the way from Raleigh-Durham, there’s a ton of restricted air spaces and controlled air fields that they would’ve been able to circumnavigate in order to not violate anybody’s airspace and send somebody with them," Ervin explained.
We're learning planes are equipped with an encoding transponder that gives out information such as speed, altitude, the type of plane and number.
“If they turned their transponder off, the plane data wouldn’t have been captured, but they could’ve still been pinged on radar," Ervin said. “If they were in uncontrolled airspace‚ it wouldn’t have mattered.”
Their plane was found about 50 yards off the runway. A majority of their flight was likely at night, which crashed after the airport closed.
Ervin explained Henderson’s runway lights are controlled by the pilots. If the radio frequency and process is not known, the airport remains dark.
14 News is also learning flight plans are not necessarily required.
Autopsies are planned for Thursday.