Friday, February 13, 2015

Velocity STD/RG-E, N112TH: Accident occurred February 13, 2015 at Sebastian Municipal Airport (X26), Florida 

SEBASTIAN — A North Carolina man who crashed a single-engine aircraft Friday at the Sebastian Municipal Airport was still at a Melbourne hospital Saturday, but could be released in a few days, a police official said.

Andrew Liptak, 73, had just taken off Friday shortly before 9 a.m. when he crashed his Velocity experimental craft into some trees and bushes near the runway. He was taking off at an altitude of about 100 feet when the plane veered south and struck the ground, Steve Marcinik, Sebastian Police Department’s public information officer, said Friday.

“Mr. Liptak is in stable condition, and is possibly expected to be released maybe next week,” Marcinik confirmed Saturday. “It’s nonlife-threatening injuries.”

He said Liptak’s wife arrived from their North Carolina home and is expected to meet with detectives Tuesday to retrieve belongings that scattered after the crash. Liptak was on his way home to North Carolina when he crashed.

The plane, a Velocity STD/RG-E, a fixed-wing single-engine, amateur-built experimental aircraft, was manufactured in 2007, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Marcinik called the aircraft “pretty cracked up” and said the debris will be examined by federal investigators.

“The aircraft was moved (Friday) onto premises of the airport,” he said. “I know it’s in a secured indoor place at the airport for the FAA to review it next week.”

On Friday, the FAA confirmed in its preliminary report that a door had opened in flight as Liptak lifted off.

John Abraham, chief pilot of Velocity, an experimental aircraft manufacturer at the airport, told authorities Liptak bought the plane used two weeks ago. He said it was Liptak’s first solo flight.

On Friday February 13, 2015 at 8:58 AM, Sebastian Police Department and Indian River County Emergency Fire Rescue responded to a report of an aircraft crash. Upon the arrival at the crash scene within the Sebastian Airport Property was observed a Velocity Experimental Aircraft that evidentially veered to the south of the active runway striking the trees and brush that line the south west area of the airport property. The pilot is identified as 73 year old Andrew Liptak out of North Carolina. Mr. Liptak recently purchased the aircraft and was in Sebastian to retrieve it. Preliminary investigations indicate that an unusual occurrence happened during take-off at approximately 100 foot of altitude resulting in the pilot veering in the direction of his left (south). Mr. Liptak sustained unknown specific injuries as a result of the impact but was responsive to investigative and rescue personnel. Fire rescue personnel extricated Mr. Liptak from the wreckage and he was then airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center. Family members were notified and are traveling from North Carolina to meet with Mr. Liptak. The crash incident location is secured awaiting the arrival of the FAA for further investigation. The Sebastian Airport remains open and with normal operations.

SEBASTIAN — The pilot of a plane that crashed near the Sebastian Municipal Airport Friday morning has been identified as 73-year-old Andrew Liptak of North Carolina. 

Sebastian Police Department spokesman Ofc. Steve Marcinik said Liptak had recently purchased an experimental Velocity aircraft and was just taking off from the airport when he crashed.

Ofc. Marcinik said an "unusual occurrence" caused the plane to veer left and crash. He said the plane was at a maximum height of 100 feet when it lost altitude.

Though there have been other media reports that a door on the plane opened, Ofc. Marcinik said it is possible but has not been confirmed.

Liptak was airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash. He was the only person on board the plane.

Posted 9:17 a.m. Feb. 13

SEBASTIAN — A pilot has crashed his plane near the Sebastian Airport Friday morning, according to authorities. The pilot was found conscious and alert, complaining of hip and leg pain.

The patient is being flown to a trauma center, according to Indian River County Fire Rescue.

A 73-year-old pilot was involved in a crash near the runway of the Sebastian Airport, according to the Indian River County Fire Rescue. The call was made by a golfer near the sixth hole of the Sebastian Municipal Golf Course.

It occurred on the southwest corner of the airport, near the runway, according to authorities.

This article will be updated with more information.

SEBASTIAN, Fla., — A small aircraft crashed at Sebastian Municipal Airport Friday morning.

The pilot, 73-year-old Andrew Liptak of South Carolina, was conscious and talking to paramedics, police said.

Liptak “tried to make a 180-degree turn to try to land the experimental aircraft," John Abraham, chief pilot of Velocity, an experimental aircraft manufacturer at Sebastian Municipal Airport, told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Liptak had just taken off when he saw the co-pilot door had opened, Abraham told Scripps Treasure Coast reporters. “But he tried to make a 180-degree turn to land, and he hit the ground, went into the trees and totaled the plane.”

Liptak had recently purchased the Velocity Experimental Aircraft and was in Sebastian picking it up, police said.

Indian River County Fire Rescue extricated him from the wreckage and he was airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center, police said.

The crash was first reported in the Vero News.

The airport is open for business.

Colleen Wixon and Will Greenlee, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers contributed to this report.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: The pilot is 73-year-old Andrew Liptak of North Carolina, according to a statement on Sebastian police's Facebook page.

Liptak was operating a recently-purchased "Velocity Experimental Aircraft" and struck the trees and brush on the southwest area of the airport grounds, police said.

Liptak sustained "unknown specific injuries" but was responsive to investigative and rescue personnel, police said. He was airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center.

Airport officials are awaiting the arrival of the FAA for further investigation; the Sebastian Airport has resumed normal operations.

DEVELOPING: An experimental aircraft has crashed near the runway at Sebastian Municipal Airport, according to several media reports. is reporting onlookers spotted first responders going to the scene. 

The pilot is "alert and conscious and is talking to paramedics," according to Sebastian police. He is en route to the hospital, according to 

The pilot's name has not been released, but reports he is a 73-year-old male. 

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