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Pilot tried several times to land before crash in Robeson Co.

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FAYETTEVILLE, NC (AP) -- A report from the National Transportation Safety Board says a pilot made several attempts to land before a fatal crash in Robeson County last year.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that the NTSB has not issued a formal ruling on the Dec. 16 crash that killed 63-year-old Virgil Deal. The retired Army colonel died when his Piper PA-28 Cherokee came down in some woods near Parkton.

But the agency's preliminary report says Deal was flying from Summerville, SC, to Fayetteville Regional Airport when the plane appeared to malfunction. Deal told a Fayetteville air traffic controller that he was having trouble with his gyroscope while approaching for a landing.

The plane crashed after three attempts to land.

Deal was the acting chief of surgery at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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