Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ercoupe 415-C, N415WE: Acident occurred October 19, 2016 in Lindenwold, Camden County, New Jersey 

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA023 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 19, 2016 in Lindenwold, NJ
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415, registration: N415WE
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 19, 2016, about 1320 eastern daylight time, an Ercoupe 415C, N415WE, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in Lindenwold, New Jersey. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Flying W Airport (N14), Lumberton, New Jersey. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot reported that he rented the airplane at Claremont Airport (58M), Elkton, Maryland, and added 9 gallons of fuel to the airplane before departing. He flew to N14 without incident to pick up the passenger, and they then departed for a local area flight.

The passenger reported that during the flight the pilot stated, "something was wrong with the throttle" before the engine began to lose power. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain and sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and the cockpit.

The two seat, low wing, tricycle landing gear-equipped airplane, was manufactured in 1946. It was powered by a Continental C-75, 75 horsepower engine. The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Philadelphia FSDO-17

LINDENWOLD - A small plane that crashed into a backyard here Wednesday rolled away on the back of two trucks Thursday.

Neighbors watched from nearby lawns as workers placed battered pieces of a two-seater aircraft onto a trailer near the crash site on the 500 block of East Linden Avenue. A front end loader lifted the front of the plane's fuselage, including its cockpit, onto a flatbed truck.

The plane was carrying two South Jersey men when it crashed behind a home around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Lindenwold police said Wayne Gilchrist, 66, of Marlton was flying the plane, while 72-year-old David Misek of Cherry Hill was a passenger.

Misek told investigators the plane, which was made in 1946, “experienced an unknown mechanical issue just prior to the crash,” Lindenwold Police Det. Christopher Sherrer said in a statement.

Misek, a Rockingham Court resident, was awaiting surgery Thursday  for a broken hip at Cooper University Hospital, Camden.  Gilchrist, a Kettering Court resident, received “a large number of stitches” for "severe facial lacerations,” according to Sherrer. The pilot has been unable to speak to investigators, he added.

Authorities said the plane, which took off from Flying W Airport in Medford, narrowly missed several houses when it came down, then broke apart in the wooded yard. Gilchrist and Misek were trapped inside the overturned cockpit for about a half hours before emergency personnel could free them.

Gilchrist had rented the plane in Maryland, then flew to South Jersey for an excursion with Misek, according to the aircraft's owner, Daniel McCaffery of Chesapeake City, Md. McCaffery had initially identified Gilchrist as a Delaware resident.

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LINDENWOLD - Two men were hospitalized after a small plane crashed into the backyard of a borough home Wednesday afternoon.

But the damage "could have been a lot worse," Lindenwold Police Chief Tom Brennan said.

He said the vintage two-seater plane narrowly missed several houses when it crashed around 12:45 p.m. in the 500 block of East Linden Avenue.

"It looks like it came between about four homes, kind of on a diagonal, struck some trees and ended up on the ground," the chief said. "No one on the ground was injured."

"I don't know what caused this but I think (the pilot) did a pretty nice job of putting it down," said the plane's owner, Daniel McCaffery of Chesapeake City, Maryland. McCaffery said he had rented the 70-year-old aircraft Wednesday to a Delaware man, Wayne Gilchrist, who flew to South Jersey to go flying with a friend.

Gilchrist and his passenger were trapped in the plane's overturned cockpit for about 30 minutes before firefighters could free them, Lindenwold Fire Chief Michael Nolan said. One was flown by helicopter to Cooper University Hospital, Camden, while the other was taken there by ambulance, he said.

"They are expected to survive," Brennan said of the men, who were admitted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

"They were unable to communicate when they were extricated," said Brennan, who described the victims as "semi-conscious."

Authorities identified the men only as a 66-year-old pilot and a 72-year-old passenger.

The plane, an Ercoupe 415-C made in 1946, had taken off from Flying W Airport in Medford prior to the crash, said the Federal Aviation Administration.

"It's a total loss," McCaffery said of the white-and-blue plane, which broke apart on impact. The front of the aircraft's fuselage, which had flipped so its wheels were in the air, lay about 6 to 8 feet from the twisted tail section.

Doretha Williams said she was shocked to come home Wednesday afternoon to find the wreckage in her yard.

"I'm glad that no kids were out playing," said Williams, who noted she hosted a children’s party in the yard over the weekend.

A woman who lives next door to the accident scene said the crash "sounded like an explosion."

The air crash is believed to have been the first in Lindenwold in more than 30 years.

Brennan said his reaction upon learning of the accident was, “Are you kidding me?"

"But here we are," he said as emergency vehicles from across Camden County lined Linden Avenue.

FAA investigators were on the scene by 2:30 p.m, with personnel en route from the National Transportation Safety Board.

At first, Lena and Peter Pullella didn’t realize the plane had crashed three houses away from their restaurant, Pullella's Pizza Parlor.

But then they saw emergency responders swarming the neighborhood, blocking access on Berlin Road.

A firefighter ran into their shop and asked for two bottles of water for the victims.

"I was shocked," said Peter Pullella. "I've been here 30 years — and zero plane crashes."

Rod Cooper, an Elm Avenue resident, came to the scene expecting to find a traffic accident.

"Unbelievable," he said, staring at the crashed plane from a neighboring lawn.

"Planes are always flying over our houses. You never think one's going to come down."


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