FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Serious
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: FORT ATKINSON
ULTRALIGHT, UNKNOWN REGISTRATION MAKE MODEL, CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, 1 MILE FROM FORT ATKINSON, WISCONSIN.JEFFERSON — A 63-year-old Janesville man died after his ultralight aircraft lost power and crashed just after taking off from the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport Sunday morning.
The 9:42 a.m. crash took place at W5797 Wendorf Lane in the Town of Jefferson, south of the airport.
The pilot, Ronald Norton was alone in the plane, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He died from injuries sustained in the crash early Monday morning at UW Hospital in Madison.
Sheriff’s office Capt. Jerry Haferman said Norton reportedly departed from the Fort Atkinson airport and was experiencing engine problems, so he attempted to glide the aircraft to a smooth field.
“Witnesses said they had seen the ultralight and it looks like one of the wings tipped downward and saw it fall to the ground,” Haferman said.
Town of Jefferson resident John Mansavage said he saw the incident from his home.
A former pilot himself, Mansavage regularly observes planes taking off from the airport flying over his home.
“There was no wind and, in fact, it was a perfect morning to be out in an airplane,” he said. “As it was taking off, it came right over the house. I looked up and I thought, ‘that thing is kind of low and loud.’ Suddenly there was a change in the sound of the engine.”
Mansavage said the engine was not sputtering, but actually appeared to have revved up.
The aircraft was out over the Rock River and banked, apparently intent on heading back toward the airport.
“It struck me as odd how quickly it lost altitude,” Mansavage said. “ It kind of went down like a brick.”
From his point of view, he said, the aircraft was not likely much higher than 500 feet.
Mansavage said the ultralight still was climbing from takeoff when the event happened and it engaged in the turn.
While he had no direct vantage point of the crash due to trees and it being across the river, he heard it.
“You can’t erase that sound hearing the impact,” Mansavage said. “I did not see it because of the trees, but I saw it go down. It takes few seconds to process what happened. That will kind of ruin your morning.”
Mansavage called 911 to alert emergency personnel to the incident.
When the aircraft crashed striking a tree, it caught on fire, about 50 feet from a nearby home on Wendorf Lane.
Haferman said Norton was able to extricate himself from the wreckage.
In addition to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Fort Atkinson Fire Department Rescue Squad, Ryan Brothers Ambulance Service and the Fort Memorial Hospital paramedic unit responded to the scene.
Fort Atkinson Fire Department Lt. Dion Brown said when firefighters arrived on scene, the aircraft was engulfed in flames.
“We set up a hose line to put that out,” he said.
Ryan Brothers and the paramedics were treating Norton.
Based on the assessment of his injuries, which included extensive burns, Med-Flight was contacted to respond directly to Fort Memorial Hospital and transfer Norton to UW Hospital in Madison where he died early Monday morning.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Bureau were contacted. At presstime, it had not been determined whether the FAA and NTSB would be responding to the investigation or if it would be handled by the sheriff’s office.
JEFFERSON COUNTY — Jefferson County Sheriff’s officials say a pilot has died after his ultralight airplane crashed and caught fire on Sunday, August 14th. The victim has been identified as 63-year-old Ronald Norton of Janesville.
The crash occurred on CTH K, south of Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport around 9:40 a.m.
Authorities say Norton began experiencing engine problems after taking off from the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport. Norton attempted to glide the ultralight to a smooth field, but was unable to and crashed to the ground. The ultralight then caught fire.
Officials say Norton was able to extricate himself from the ultralight. He was transported to the Fort Atkinson Hospital and then to UW Madison Hospital.
Norton died early Monday morning, August 15th.
The crash remains under investigation.