An unlicensed 17-year-old was reportedly at the controls of what The Associated Press is reporting was a Piper PA30 Twin Comanche that crashed Tuesday evening in Alabama, killing him and his two teenaged passengers. The AP is also reporting that Sherrie Smith, the mother of Jordan Smith, who was flying the twin, said he had a key to the plane, the access code to the airport gate and that the owner of the aircraft, who was not identified, had let him fly the Comanche many times previously. She also told the AP that her son was "one test" short of earning a private certificate.
Smith took off from Walker County Airport in Jasper, northwest of Birmingham, about 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday. It was overcast with a low ceiling, the AP quoted the unidentified airport manager as saying. The aircraft crashed less than a mile away in a wooded area. Also killed were Brandon Tyler Ary, 19, and Jordan Seth Montgovery, 17.