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Instructional Flight That killed 2, Pilot Was Not A FAA Certified Flight Instructor

September 3, 2014 - A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report indicates a training flight out of Mount Pleasant Regional Airport, South Carolina on August 14 that killed the flight instructor and his student pilot was conducted by a pilot that did not hold an FAA flight instructor certificate. 

FAA records also indicated the pilot, Graham Borland, 33, held a first-class medical certificate that was issued on May 25, 2011, at which time the pilot reported only having 275 total flight hours. Graham held a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating for single and multi-engine land aircraft. 

On August 14, 2014, at or about 11:25 AM, Borland and his student pilot, Matt Gaither, 20, departed Mount Pleasant Regional Airport in a 1974, two seat, Cessna 150M, N66241, for a training flight. 


On their take off roll on runway 35, the aircraft lifted off the ground midfield with 40 degrees of flap, a witness reported the aircraft "immediately looked unstable." The wings banked to the right and left, at about 100 feet the wings were level, moments later the Cessna 150 entered a nose down attitude a "straight downward dive" when it impacted the ground, about 1100 feet northwest of the departure end of runway 35. The airplane came to rest in a near vertical, nose-down, position.

The wings remained attached to the fuselage, wing flaps remained attached to their respective wings, the flap actuator jack screw position was consistent with a flaps retracted setting, the ailerons remained attached to their respective wing attach points and exhibited some compression wrinkling and denting.

No damage was noted on the elevator and rudder control surfaces. The elevator trim tab was found in the neutral position. Both propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub and displayed some chordwise scratching along the span of both blades.



Matt's father, Cole Gaither said his son had graduated James Island Charter High School in 2012, and that he was taking flight lesions to improve his chances of getting into special forces. The airplane was registered under Hanger Aviation, Inc. and owned by Clark Hanger. Hanger, a business partner with Cole Gaither allowed Matt to use the plane for his flight training. At the time of the flight visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight.

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