Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cessna U206F Stationair, Airborne Flyer LLC, N208LH: Aircraft on landing at Stinson Lake, flipped over - Rumney, New Hampshire

RUMNEY, N.H. —A plane that crashed into Stinson Lake in Rumney last week was removed from the water Thursday.

Two people and a dog got out of the plane safely after the crash landing. Pilot Don Stoppe said he has flown and landed seaplanes dozens of times, but he said a small error on his part last week caused the plane to flip as it hit the water.

A home video caught the crash as it happened Friday. The engine can be heard sputtering seconds before the plane splashes into the water and flips.

Stoppe, a pilot with 20 years’ experience, was at the controls. He said he had taken off just minutes before from the Plymouth airport.

“I realized we were going to flip before it happened,” he said.

That gave him and his passenger time to brace for impact.

“I touched down at the lowest possible speed,” Stoppe said. “The actual force on it wasn’t much worse than a carnival ride might be.”

The two men on board and Stoppe’s dog, Tracker, walked away with a few scratches. Stoppe said he credits the safety courses he took with keeping him safe. In particular, he learned that when crashing into water and landing upside down, open the door first.

“You are upside down, and if you unbelt yourself, you’re disoriented and won’t be able to find the door handle,” he said.

The plane is totaled and will be towed to Moultonbourough Airport. The wings and other parts will be broken down into scrap, but Stoppe said it can all be replaced.

“We thank God we’re OK and lucky to be here,” he said.

Stoppe said he wants to suggest to the National Transportation Safety Board that changes are made to the control panels and safety checklist used before seaplanes take off.