Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Homebuilt aircraft crashes into Honda Insight, hangar at Athens/Ben Epps Airport (KAHN), Athens, Georgia

No one was injured when a plane crashed into a car and hangar Monday at Athens-Ben Epps Airport. 

Athens-Clarke police said the collision happened when the owner lost control of the plane as he slowly taxied it near the damaged hangar.

James Box, 81, of Athens, recently installed a new engine in his home-built airplane, but the engine was too powerful for the brakes to hold it, according to police.

Unable to stop, the aircraft crashed into a car, and it’s propeller sheared off the vehicle’s roof, police said.

The Honda Insight was a total loss, according to its owner, Rocker Staton. The airplane sustained extensive damage, police said.

Box could not be reached Tuesday because he was visiting family out of state, according to neighbor and fellow pilot Rocker Staton, who witnessed the accident.

“It was the first start-up of that engine that (Box) had been working on for quite a few years,” Staton said. “It was just totally an accident. When the engine cranked, the plane rolled forward and my car was the first thing it came to.”

Blocks had been placed in front of the airplane’s wheels to keep it from moving while the propeller was spinning, but the plane hopped over them and Box was unable to stop it with the brakes, according to Staton.

“I just watched as it rolled slow and steady toward my car,” he said.

The airplane also struck the wall of a county-owned hangar, causing minor damages, police said.

Though police took a report to document the accident, there were no charges.

Authorities notified the Federal Aviation Administration, but Staton said that was a formality and he doubted there would be an investigation.

“It was just one of those unfortunate things,” he said.

Story and reaction/comments:   http://onlineathens.com



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