Monday, March 09, 2015

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, N7748H: Incident occurred March 09, 2015 in Hopewell, Ontario County, New York

HOPEWELL — A man who flipped his airplane while landing the craft in a snow-covered field in Hopewell walked away from the crash unharmed.

The pilot was alone in the aircraft when the incident unfolded shortly after 3 p.m. Monday. 

Sgt. Dave Cirencione, of the Ontario County Sheriff's Office, detailed the incident shortly after the crash, noting that the pilot took off from the Canandaigua Airport and targeted a field at 3719 Routes 5 and 20 for a landing spot. 

 The field, which has a snowmobile path tracing through it, is covered with snow, which at some points was as much as two feet deep. 

"He was traveling from south to north on the ground when, with the combination of the soft snow and the wind, flipped the plane," Cirencione said while standing alongside Routes 5 and 20 as the plane rested upside-down in the field more than 100 yards away.

The snow had both caused the plane, identified as a Piper, to flip and also provided a level of cushioning when it came crashing upside-down.

Cirencione said that the pilot chose to land in the field because he knows people who live nearby and was intending to visit them. 

The owner of the field was not the person he planned to visit. 

Tim Wunder, the property owner, was working out in his barn when he noticed the small aircraft circling above his house a couple times. He didn't think much of it and went about his business in the barn. 

"Then I heard a thud, and I just thought it was ice coming off the roof," Wunder said. "I came out and he was laying there upside down."

Wunder said that he ran from the barn and out into the field to check on the welfare of the pilot. As he approached he found that the pilot had already exited the aircraft.

"He was shell-shocked, but he was alright," Wunder said. 

Wunder said he was baffled as to why the pilot made the decision to land the aircraft in his field, noting that he didn't have permission to do so. He added that it was a questionable decision considering the snow's depth. 

When he saw the plane flipped over in the field, he said he assumed the pilot was attempting to initiate an emergency landing. 

Cirencione said that members of the Federal Aviation Administration would further investigate the incident. 

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Deputies say a small plane crashed in the area of Freshour Road near Routes 5 and 20 in the Town of Hopewell in Ontario County.

We're told the plane left Canandaigua airport around 3:10 p.m. on Monday. It landed in a field off Routes 5 and 20 and got caught in the soft snow and flipped. Pilot Douglas Turnbull was able to get out of the plane and was luckily not hurt.

We're told the plane got caught in soft snow while landing and flipped.

Sergeant Dave Cirencione says, "Probably 24 hours ago this would have been fine. But we've had this sudden warm turn and the snow has been so hard packed and frozen over two months now that probably he wasn't expecting it to be as soft as it is. The sun has been out all day and it's really started to soften up and he probably didn't anticipate that."

We're told Turnbull has had a pilot's license since 2009. He was visiting friends and intended to land in the field.

Story, video and photo:

53 year-old Douglas Turnbull escaped injury this afternoon when his 1946 Piper, PA12 aircraft overturned while he was attempting to land the plane off Route 5 in the Town of Hopewell.   

Ontario County Sheriff's Deputies say the Bloomfield man was alone in the vintage two-seater plane when he flew out of Canandaigua Airport about 3:10 PM.  After a short flight, Turnbull put the plane down in a snow-covered field on the south side of Route 5, east of Freshour Road in the Town of Hopewell, at approximately 3:33PM.

It was a routine landing, but as he taxied across the field from south to north, the plane struck some soft snow causing it to flip upside down.  

Turnbull, who was wearing his seatbelt and shoulder harness, quickly extricated himself from the overturned plane and walked away with no apparent injuries.  

He was checked at the scene by personnel from Canandaigua Ambulance, but refused to be transported to the hospital.  He remained, instead, at the scene of the crash to inspect the plane for any possible damage.

On questioning Turnbull, Sheriff's Deputies determined that the field he landed in was exactly where he intended to land and it was not an emergency situation until the plane hit the snow hazard. 

The FAA, meantime, has been notified and will investigate the incident.  The Hopewell Fire Department also responded and assisted at the scene.

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