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Records Show Pilot Killed In Endicott Plane Crash Was Not Medically Certified To Fly

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The pilot killed in Monday's crash in Endicott was not medically certified to fly an aircraft, according to his records listed on the Federal Aviation Administration's website. 

Police say 77-year old Russel Elwood Darrow was flying a single engine Trella T-21 when it crashed on the Norfolk Southern Railroad property near Tri Cities Airport.

His records listed by the FAA show that his medical certification expired over two decades ago. 

"Every pilot in the United States must have two certificates to operate and airplane - a pilots license, also known as a certificate, that when issue does not expire, then you also need a medical certificate, as well, appropriate to his class of pilot certificate," said Robert Katz, a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor. 

"Without a valid medical certificate the privilege to operate an airplane is suspended without penalty until that medical is renewed," said Katz. 

Under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a medical certificate as "acceptable evidence of physical fitness on a form prescribed by the Administrator."

"It's designed to uncover the infirmities that come with age such as hearing and vision issues, high blood pressure diabetes, things like that and that exam is conducted by an FAA designated physician," said Katz.

The primary goal of the airman medical certification program is to protect not only the pilots but also air travelers and the general public.

Darrow's record indicate his last medical certification was issued in October 1991. 

He was issued a second class medical certificate, which is valid for 24 months.

Federal regulations require pilots to renew their medical certification once it expires. 

Darrow's medical certification expired in October 1993. The pilot was 77 years old when his plane went down Monday. 

"It's a very common problem in general aviation in the United States ...as the pilot gets older and they know themselves and that they are no longer going to qualify for a medical, they take an out of sight out of mind attitude, which is very dangerous for public safety, " said Katz. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is handling the investigation in the cause of the crash.