David Gillies, president of Windsor Flying Club, said the pilot, who was unaccompanied, rented the club plane for an overnight trip. "It is not usual for this individual to rent an airplane overnight," he said.
The pilot was certified to fly under "visual flight rules," allowing him to fly in fair weather, and was qualified to fly at night. But the pilot did not have an instrument rating allowing him to fly into weather systems, Gillies said.
Gillies said Nashville airport officials told him the pilot "circled" over the airport "for some time" and that the plane crashed while trying to land about 2:30 a.m. "They've indicated to us that they have tapes of him circling and that the time of his demise was about 2:30," he said.
Airport officials have declined to discuss the accident in detail, citing the NTSB investigation.
The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, in a statement, said "the time of the crash has not been determined and reports to the contrary are not factual. These facts will be determined as part of the NTSB investigation."
On Wednesday, the NTSB surveyed the crash site, investigator Neylon said. He plans to examine air traffic control tapes and radar soon. And the NTSB will examine the pilot's flight records and interview his instructors.
The investigation, Neylon said, is in the early stages, and it may take a year before the board determines a probable cause.
Asked whether this wreck was anomalous, Neylon said, "Every accident's unusual."