Friday, May 09, 2014

North American AT-6C Texan, N164EW, Avpast LLC: Accident occurred May 09, 2014 in Roxbury, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA238
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Roxbury, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2014
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN AT6 - C, registration: N164EW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to pilot he checked the weather at his destination airport and it called for VFR weather. While enroute to his destination he stated that the weather was deteriorating and the ceilings were getting low. As a precaution he started to look for a place to land since the weather was closing in and his fuel was also getting low. The pilot located a private grass strip and made an attempt to land. As the airplane touched down on the field the pilot applied the brakes, but he had little brake response due to the wet grass. When the pilot relized that he would be unable to stop the airplane prior to the end of the runway, he initiated a go-around and struck a power line follow by trees before losing control and colliding with the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The pilot did not report any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate obstacle clearance, which resulted in the inflight collision with a power line.

A small airplane with a single occupant crashed on North Montgomery Hollow Road near Hubbell Corners, in the Delaware County town of Roxbury, around 12:30 p.m. today. The pilot was injured in the crash.

Just before the crash, the plane had been circling downtown Roxbury, according to eyewitness Jill Ribich, a Roxbury resident and local photographer who was on the scene minutes after the plane crashed. Ribich said she thought the pilot may have been aiming for a small grassy landing strip nearby, but was unable to make the landing.

"I was coming up Route 30, and he was circling the town. He was banking so fast," she said. "We do aerial photography. I knew he was going to go down." 

The plane clipped a few power lines and struck several trees on its way down, Ribich said. It came to rest in a wooded area, at the edge of a field. Near the crash site, pieces of wreckage and damaged trees surrounded the downed plane. 

The pilot was taken from the scene with a head injury, but survived the crash, said Ribich.

State police at the scene declined to speak to the Watershed Post, but said they would be issuing a press release about the crash.

According to FAA records, the plane -- with tail number N164EW -- is a 1943 AT-6C Texan, an aircraft made by North American Aviation and used to train pilots during World War II.

A dispatcher from the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services told the Watershed Post that emergency responders received word of the crash shortly before 12:46 p.m. Several local fire departments and other first responders were at the scene.

Story, photo gallery and comments/reaction:

First responders come to the aid of the pilot after his World War II vintage aircraft crash landed in the Delaware County town of Roxbury, N.Y., Friday, May 9, 2014. The pilot was taken by helicopter to a hospital.

A damaged tree with metal from the crash embedded in it, a few yards away from where the plane came to rest.

Blood-stained wreckage left behind after the crash.

A North American AT-6C Texan plane that crashed at the edge of a field on North Montgomery Hollow Road in Roxbury on Friday

A logo on the fuselage of the downed plane reads "Pratt & Whitney Aircraft: Dependable Engines."

The wreckage of the plane's engine.

More on this story as it develops. Send photos or information to

A small plane crashed about 12:30 p.m. today off North Montgomery Hollow Road in Roxbury, and the lone occupant, pilot James Leavelle, 45, of Mentor, Ohio, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to State Police at Oneonta zone Sgt. David Lennon.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in an email that a North American AT-6C, single-engine aircraft, manufactured in 1943, landed short of a grass strip near Roxbury.

Leavelle was airlifted to Bassett Medical Center. He told police that he was flying to a New York airport from Ohio and tried to avoid a storm by landing in a privately owned grass strip.

The aircraft, registered to Avpast LLC of Mentor, Ohio, was substantially damaged.

Toni Etts, operator of Toni's Boarding Kennel, told The Daily Star the plane crashed on her property, about 300 to 400 yards away from the kennel where she was working.

"I think he was trying to land on the meadow but he was coming in too fast," she said. The plane was "in pieces," she said, and emergency workers were at the scene.

Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond said state police and the Roxbury town constable were in charge at the scene.

A local merchant said he observed a low-flying plane shortly before the crash in the vicinity of The Roxbury, a lodging facility off County Highway 31.

Sean O'Shaughnessy of Roxbury, a local real estate agent, said he observed the plane flying low above Roxbury before the crash, and noted it appeared to be of World War 2 vintage, or a replica of a vintage aircraft.

"We knew it was in trouble," O'Shaughnessy said. "It flew in, and to the end of town, circled, came back and flew over our house. The undercarriage was down, so I knew he was trying to put it down. He turned back, heading toward Grand Gorge. Very low, and just didn't sound right, and started to get lower and lower.”