Authorities have found the body of a pilot who fell out of a Zenith 601 aircraft at about 2,500 feet over East Brainerd, Tenn., just east of Chattanooga on Friday. The man was not identified but the latest reports suggest he was an experienced pilot who had recently purchased the aircraft and was being trained to fly it by another pilot. “At some point during their flight, the canopy on the aircraft malfunctioned and, as a result, one of the pilots was ejected,” Bradley Gault, a spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, told local media.
The nature of the malfunction was not detailed. Zenith 601s generally have a bubble canopy that opens forward. Authorities are not offering any speculation either on the attitude of the aircraft or the use of safety restraints at the time the pilot was separated from the aircraft. The other pilot was able to return to Collegedale Airport and land safely.