Marietta, GA National Guard Plane Crash, May 1985

PILOT SAVED OTHERS BY STAYING WITH PLANE.

Marietta, Ga. (UPI) - The pilot of a stricken Army National Guard plane stuck with the craft Sunday and maneuvered it over a large apartment complex before he died in the fiery crash in a woods.
"The pilot could have ejected, but he didn't," said Staff Sgt. Wayne Morton, a National Guard spokesman.
The twin-engine OV-1 Mohawk, on a technical surveillance mission crashed and burst into flames just short of the runway near Dobbins Air Force Base, killing the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer WILLIAM H. BRANNAN, of Swainsboro.
The other occupant, Spec. 5 LAWSON O. BITTAKER, of Atlanta, a technical observer, ejected, but apparently died when the ejection seat crashed to the ground, according to Dr. John Feegel, the medical examiner. He said BITTAKER'S body, with parachute lines strewn about was found in a creek about 50 yards from the wrecked plane.
Morton said BRANNAN, a farmer, and BITTAKER, an Atlanta policeman, were on a weekend National Guard training mission.
"The plane was on its final approach to the runway and began breaking apart and burst into flames, taking out treetops," said Morton. "The pilot was able to maneuver the disabled plane over a large apartment complex and managed to get it over before it finally crashed.
The plane crashed into trees and into a 40-foot ravine about 300 feet east of U.S. 41, less than a mile from the Dobbins runway.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune Indiana
1985-05-09