Pilot Of Plane Crash From Vestal

By Erik Burling

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 21, 2007 at 6:46 PM EDT

The pilot of a plane that crashed in Broome County once lived in Vestal.

49 year old Martin Grab moved to the Albany area.

That's where he was headed last night after taking off from the Greater Binghamton Airport.

Action News got a look at the site where Grab's 1987 Mooney plane went down in the Town of Maine.

Pieces of Martin Grab's plane are scattered through woods.

A crash people around Knapp Road heard as the plane exploded and burned.

It went down about a mile from the Greater Binghamton Airport..

After visiting family in Vestal, Grab took off from the airport around 4:50 Tuesday evening.

"After the initial climb radio and radar contact was lost with air traffic control from the federal aviation. There was no distress call/ Weather conditions at the time of the departure of the aircraft were one quarter mile visibility in fog," says Todd Gunther of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The airport says at the time, the airlines had grounded most of their flights.

But private pilots like Grab can make their own call.

"Air traffic controllers are simply going to tell the pilot what the conditions are. They do not make the decision whether the aircraft flies or it does not fly," says Carl Beardsley of the Greater Binghamton Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause.

Its team will spend 3 days combing through the crash site and interviewing witnesses.

Then, the wreckage will be transferred to a secure area for a more in-depth analysis.

"They are looking at the system of the aircraft. The structure on the aircraft, the power plant, which is the engine. Thus we are also looking at the weather, and any physiological factors that may have affected the pilot," says Gunther.

NTSB will release a preliminary report.

But it could take 10 months to a year to figure out what caused Grab's plane to go down.

Grab's body was taken to the Lourdes Hospital, where he underwent an autopsy.

The results have not been released.

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