FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01
AIRCRAFT CRASHED SHORTLY AFTER DEPARTURE, 1 MILE FROM GRANTS-MILAN, NEW MEXICO.
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32R
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Minor
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
State: New Mexico
CIBOLA COUNTY – Late afternoon on Monday, a 1976 Piper PA-32R-300 single engine plane suddenly came down shortly after take off from the Grants/Milan Airport behind the federal prison (CCA or Four Cs) in Milan in Milan causing it to catch fire which caused a small grass fire.
According to officials, pilot and owner of the plane, Michael Clark, and two passengers were flying to Utah and needed to stop in Grants for fuel and food. “Upon take off,” Sheriff Tony Mace said, “the plane would not gain altitude and the engine was sputtering.”
While Clark was attempting to land the plane in a field, it appears the plane’s wing clipped a tree causing it to spin sideways and eventually catching fire, Mace said.
The plane and everything in it eventually burned, which also caused the grass under and a small area around the plane to burn, including a few shrubs.
Emergency personnel were able to immediately assist the three persons and the plane and stop the small fire.
Amazingly, Clark and his two passengers were able to walk away from the crash site with no injuries.
According to Mace, on Tuesday the FAA was in the area to investigate the crash.
Clark is from Texas and his passengers were from Oklahoma.