Thursday, July 17, 2014

Accident occurred July 17, 2014 at Pennridge Airport (KCKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania

The Red Baron he was not. 

A pilot flying a bright red biplane failed to properly navigate the runway of Pennridge Regional Airport Thursday morning, flipping tail-over-propeller upon landing and coming to rest upside-down at the edge of the tarmac.

Miraculously, Pennridge Regional police Chief David Mettin said the pilot was uninjured.

“The biplane came in for a landing and went off the side of the runway,” Mettin said. “Somehow it flipped over … but there were no injuries.”

Airport manager Jean Curry said the plane was a Stearman Vintage Trainer, easily recognizable by its bi-wing and single propeller design. She declined to give details about the pilot or crash, citing an ongoing investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“They’ll be on-site conducting interviews and will be in contact with the pilot,” Curry said. “I can’t give any information until that is completed.”

Shortly after the crash, which occurred just before 11 a.m., a truck-driven crane arrived at the scene to right the plane. Hooking to the tail end of the Stearman, the crane lifted the plane entirely into the air before setting it down right-side-up.

A second truck then towed the vehicle into a hangar.

“The plane was removed from the runway and (the airport) was reopened,” Curry said.

Curry said the incident was a first she’s seen in her 14 years managing the airport.

At the scene, witness Michelle Yuro, who came to the airport from Robbinsville, New Jersey, to sky-dive, said the bright red plane reminded her of the infamous Red Baron.

“He touched down and it looked like he was out of control. He just went off a little and nosed over and landed right on his back,” Yuro said. “I don’t know a lot about flying but from what I’ve seen it looked like he was coming in fast.”

Yuro saw the male pilot walk away from the crash. Besides a crushed tail tip, there was little visible damage to the plane.

“I saw him walk right out,” Yuro said. “He got himself out and then in the interim everyone ran over there.”

It was Yuro’s second failed jumping attempt in a week, after her first was cancelled following a sky-diving accident that left two people hurt.

An instructor with a Philadelphia-based sky-diving company, who declined to give his name, said he had to cancel all of his jumping appointments for the day. He said it was the first time in his 12 years that a plane crash of any kind had hurt his business.

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