Sunday, February 19, 2012

Clarinda man killed in crash after take-off. Schenck Field Airport (KICL) Clarinda, Iowa

Photo Credit:  Bob Eschliman

Crash scene investigators sift through the debris of an aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday, Feb. 19, from Schenck Field-Clarinda Municipal Airport. The pilot of the aircraft, who has not yet been identified, died in the crash. No one else was aboard.

Bob Eschliman
Publisher, Clarinda Herald-Journal

A plane crash Sunday afternoon in a farm field south of Clarinda has claimed the life of a community business leader.

According to a press release from the Page County Sheriff's Office, a 9-1-1 call was received shortly after 1:30 p.m., reporting a small aircraft had crashed near a farm home in the 2300 block of R Avenue south of Clarinda. The pilot of the plane, 53-year-old Jac Crain of Clarinda, died at the scene.

According to other Clarinda-area pilots, Crain was scheduled to fly the BD-4 single-engine experimental aircraft owned by Crain Construction, also of Clarinda. Hunter Crawford, 12, was outside his home, approximately a half-mile from the crash scene, when he saw Crain's aircraft heading in a southwest direction at an altitude of approximately 200-300 feet.

He said the plane appeared to be turning back to Schenck Field-Clarinda Municipal Airport when the crash occurred. The debris field left behind was less than 200 yards from the farm home at 2345 R Ave.

"It was a white plane, a little too big to be a remote-controlled airplane," Crawford said. "It looked like it just couldn't regain altitude to get back. It hit the ground and immediately it was in a million pieces."

According the FAA records, Crain's aircraft was built in 2003 and was certified for airworthiness in 2005. The aircraft was an "amateur-build kit" with a Lycoming engine capable of speeds up to 190 mph. The BD-4 has been marketed for general aviation use since 1968, despite its experimental designation, and has a high safety rating, according to National Traffic Safety Bureau records.

Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer said Crain was the only occupant in the aircraft when it crashed. Crawford said emergency crews were on the scene within two minutes. And, while there was some smoke associated with the crash, he said he did not see any fire.

Palmer said the Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the cause of the crash.

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