A plane crash involving three planes at 2:15 p.m. March 20 led to the Cheswold Fire Department, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Federal Aviation Authority to be called to the scene.
A pilot lost control of his Piper Warrior plane at 2:15 p.m. March 20 and crashed into two parked planes at the Delaware Airpark, off Route 42 near Cheswold. The Piper lost a wing in the accident.
Stephen Williams, director of airports for the Delaware River Bay Authority, said the pilot, who he understands is not a student, was practicing landings and lost control. Apparently, the pilot went off the runway and sideswiped two of the three planes parked in the area, he added.
The damaged aircrafts, which were tied down, were a Piper Cherokee 180 and Cessna 337, said Jim Salmon, DRBA public information officer, calling the damage to the two aircraft substantial.
Phill-Air Inc. owned the plane that lost control, he added. It lost one wing, and had a broken window and a slightly crumpled fuselage when it stopped in a nearby field.
“There could be a lot of different things that can factor in a loss of control,” Williams said, later adding that luckily there was no post-crash fire or no apparent injuries.
The Federal Aviation Administration was called in and arrived later that day to conduct an investigation with the help of the Delaware State Police, Salmon said. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control also was on site because of fuel that leaked from the broken right wing. The agency will have to remove some soil because of contamination.
“We always take precautions and want the proper agencies involved rather than make judgments on what we think happened,” Williams said.
The FAA investigations are usually pretty straight forward, he added.
The investigation will look at a number of factors, including the aircraft wreckage, testing the fuel, pilot records and training, and interviews conducted with the pilot. Temperature, weather conditions, engine conditions and maintenance records all will be taken into account, he said.
However, based on the fact that the plane continued on after hitting the other aircraft probably indicates the problem wasn’t a loss of power, Williams added.
The aircraft would be removed from the Delaware Airpark at the owner’s expense once the investigation is complete, Salmon said.
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