KENMORE CREW LEASING INC TRUSTEE: http://registry.faa.gov/N1099A
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allegheny PFSDO-03
AIRCRAFT LANDED SHORT OF THE RUNWAY AND THE GEAR COLLAPSED, TITUSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 36
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
CHERRYTREE TOWNSHIP — A local pilot most likely had extremely little time to think as he was coming in for a landing Sunday evening at Titusville Airport and lost power, but he managed to bring the aircraft down without so much as a scratch on his five passengers.
On Monday, Jim Kuhn, Titusville Airport manager, told the newspaper that he did not know exactly how high up the plane was when it lost power, but he estimated it to be only several hundred feet. This left 68-year-old pilot William Fritz, of Franklin, barely any time to think, Kuhn explained.
If the plane had been at cruising altitude, the pilot would typically have time to declare an emergency and seek out the safest possible landing spot, or perhaps even get power going again.
But that wasn’t the case on Sunday, around 5 p.m., when the aircraft piloted by Fritz lost power for an unknown reason.
Fritz, who has a hangar at the local airport, was aware of his surroundings, said Kuhn, and managed to clear the airport fence along state Route 27 by about 10 feet. The plane came down “pretty hard” before reaching the runway, in mowed but muddy grass, Kuhn said.
Had the ground been hard, the plane would have most likely rolled onto the runway, he said.
Even though the plane sustained damage, Fritz kept everyone aboard safe. “Everybody walked away without a cut,” said Kuhn.
On Sunday evening, a woman who was on the plane, but declined to give her name, told a Herald reporter that Fritz was a “great pilot,” and credited him with keeping everyone safe.
The newspaper was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Mr. Fritz on Monday.
On Monday morning, two Federal Aviation Administration investigators from Pittsburgh were at the airport, which is located at 2572 Meadville Road (Route 27), just outside Titusville, Kuhn said. No information about the crash was released by the agency on Monday.
The plane had departed from an airport in Michigan, according to Titusville Fire Department personnel on the scene Sunday, and its destination was Titusville Airport.