Report: Pilot in crash had marijuana in system

32-year-old killed in crash on New Year's Eve 2011

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William Eubanks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into a parking lot on Atlantic Boulevard on New Year's Eve 2011 had significant levels of marijuana in his system, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pilot Will Eubanks, 32, was flying from Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport when his plane went down on Atlantic Boulevard. Eubanks died on impact.

According to the report, Eubanks "attempted to pick up the banner, which was between two pick up poles parallel to runway 23. However, the airplane was 'low' and the pilot pitched up about 10 feet prior to the banner poles."

The report says that on the second attempt, Eubanks was able to pick up the banner and "the banner lifted off and was flying normal."

According to the personnel, the climb out was "normal but started to look a little slow," at which point he observed the rudder reach approximately full deflection to the right, followed by the banner being released. Subsequently, the airplane then "snapped and started to spin to the right," about 300 feet above ground level."

"The instrument panel did not exhibit impact marks and all switches were switched to the off position by first responders," the report reads. "The instrument also consisted of a red "stall" indicator light located on the top center of the instrument panel. First responders observed the light on and photographed it prior to shutting off the master switch."

According to the report, security camera video footage captured the airplane during the initial climb out. The airplane and the banner then climbed above the recorded camera frame. A few seconds later, the banner was observed descending to the ground as if it had been released.

"There were no recorded indications of any malfunctions or abnormalities with the airplane," the report reads.

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