Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ercoupe 415-C, N3816H: Accident occurred September 10, 2019 at Ak-Chin Regional Airport (A39), Maricopa, Pinal County, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale

Aircraft crashed after departure into a building.

Desert Aeroclub LLC

Date: 10-SEP-19
Time: 14:09:00Z
Regis#: N3816H
Aircraft Make: ERCOUPE
Aircraft Model: 415
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A small plane crashed into a building at the Ak-Chin Regional Airport Tuesday morning.

A pilot instructor and student were on board.

The Ak-Chin Fire Department tells Arizona's Family that the plane crashed into the flight operations building at the airport.

[WATCH: Aviation community reacts to plane crashing into building near Maricopa]

The Federal Aviation Administration said a Ercoupe 415-C crashed under "unknown circumstances" after taking off around 8:30 a.m. 

Fire officials say one staff member was inside the building at the time of the crash, but was not hurt.

Desert Rat Aviation tells Arizona's Family that the plane belonged to them.

Both the pilot instructor and student were taken to Chandler Regional Hospital and are expected to be OK.

"It's a little bit astonishing to see the airplane actually sticking out of the building," said Les Crawford, a pilot. "Another 20 feet this way, they would've crashed straight into the ground with the way it looked. So they probably wouldn't be here today if that had happened." 

Photos from the scene show how the small plane sliced right into the top of the building. You can also see the plane's tail sticking out of the top of the crash site.

It was those pictures and video that triggered horrifying memories for Phoenix resident Sam Moeller, who survived a plane crash near Wickenburg last year.

"When I saw that picture I couldn't believe those two people survived," he said. "It always brings up memories when I see other plane crashes."

Moeller's near-death experience left more than just physical scars said Moeller. He told Arizona's Family that the survivors of Tuesday's crash -- a pilot instructor and a student -- will likely face turmoil similar to what he's been though.

"Emotionally, they're going to have bad dreams," he explained. "There's a whole lot [of times] I remember waking up, many times in cold sweat thinking about that -- that day. It's not going anywhere." 

Moeller said he still has issues today, more than a year after his plane went down.   "I still to this day, I personally don't feel comfortable going up in a single-engine airplane," he said. "That's a scary, scary feeling."

The plane was removed from the building at about 4 p.m. by Air Transport. 

"When an accident like this happens, we're contacted either by the insurance company or the NTSB and we respond to the scene and they are all like this--in rivers, in mountains, in buildings and in the desert," said Reed Jarman, the owner of Air Transport. 

The plane will now be taken to his storage property where investigators will be reconstruct it and try to figure out what happened. 

The airport that was the site of Tuesday morning's crash is owned by the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The FAA and NTSB will investigate the incident. 

The airport is located about 8 miles southeast of Maricopa, and about 44 miles southeast of Phoenix.

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