Canadian pilot killed in Nashville airport plane crash

Canadian pilot killed in Nashville airport plane crash

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A picture of the plane that crashed early Tuesday morning. Courtesy: Windsor Flying Club A picture of the plane that crashed early Tuesday morning. Courtesy: Windsor Flying Club
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A 45-year-old pilot from Canada is dead after his small plane crashed at Nashville International Airport early Tuesday morning.

The plane, a single-engine Cessna 172, crashed just off Runway 2 Center sometime after a 2 a.m. sweep of the runways.

Due to dense fog in the area, the wreckage went undetected for hours. A taxiing commercial jet made the discovery during take off around 8:45 a.m.

The pilot has been identified as Michael Callan, of Windsor, Ontario.

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators had not determined if Callan made radio contact with Nashville's air traffic control tower or why air traffic controllers did not know about the crashed plane.

FAA regulations require all pilots entering air space around Nashville to have a two-way radio and a working radar beacon with automatic altitude reporting equipment.

Regulations also require the pilot to make contact with air traffic controllers when arriving in Nashville or flying through the area.

"We are in the preliminary stages of this investigation, which means we are here to determine the facts, conditions and circumstances of this accident," NTSB Lead Investigator Jay Neylon said in news conference Wednesday morning.  "At this point in the investigation it is extremely early."

The NTSB will review air traffic control tapes as well as radar information to narrow down when the plane crashed.

The Nashville International Airport did a runway sweep around 2 a.m. Tuesday.  It is unclear if airport employees did another runway sweep before the wreckage was found.

The Metro Nashville Airport Authority released a statement that said, in part, "MNAA is working collaboratively with the FAA and NTSB as they investigate the accident and determine the facts. It would be premature to comment about any facts involving this accident until the NTSB completes its investigation. All of us at the airport express heartfelt condolences to the family of the pilot involved in this accident."

The plane was registered to Windsor Flying Club, a non-profit flight training facility based in Ontario, Canada.

The Cessna was one of three Cessna aircrafts in the school's fleet.

Flying Club President David Gillies said he did not know Callan personally, but that he had many hours flying planes like the one he crashed Tuesday.

Gillies said Callan was night-rated but not instrument-rated meaning he was not cleared to fly in low visibility like the dense fog that blanketed Nashville Tuesday morning.

Callan rented the plane on Monday afternoon and took off around 8 p.m.  He was supposed to return the plane by Noon on Tuesday.

According to the NTSB, he was supposed to be flying to Peele Island Airport in Ontario.  It's not known why he continued south to Nashville or if he landed on Peele Island.

Gillies said Callan had rented planes many times in the past and returned them without incident.

The plane itself had no mechanical issues, according to Gillies.  He said the plane was equipped with GPS and the latest instruments.

It did not have a flight data recorder.

Pilot's Criminal Past

Michael Callan was no stranger to Windsor police.

He was convicted on multiple robbery counts in 1997 and 1998 and in February of 2012 he was sentenced to four months in jail for violating the terms of his probation.

He was also charged with indecent exhibition for viewing pornography on his laptop in a local bookstore and on a transit bus.

He was sentenced to four months in jail and three years of probation and made to forfeit his laptop, according to court documents.

Callan was also convicted of two counts of mischief in connection with a child pornography sting in 2012.

Canadian authorities would not release additional information, nor Callan's mugshot due to privacy regulations.

The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the crash that killed Callan.

Investigators planned to examine air traffic control tapes and radar images from Tuesday.

A preliminary report on the crash is expected to be complete in 10 days. The final report on the crash could take up to a year to complete.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are working with the FAA as they investigate the crash, but referred all questions to American authorities.

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