Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Team Mini-Max Hi-MAX 1400Z, N668CL: Accident occurred October 16, 2021 at Benton Airport (PA40), Columbia County, Pennsylvania

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. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Military and Civilian Aviation Heritage Foundation

Location: Benton, PA 
Accident Number: ERA22LA018
Date and Time: October 16, 2021, 08:46 Local
Registration: N668CL
Aircraft: LONG CHARLES F Z-HI-MAX 1400
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LONG CHARLES F 
Registration: N668CL
Model/Series: Z-HI-MAX 1400 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 41.203179,-76.385219 (est)

BENTON, Pennsylvania — The soggy runway at the Benton Airport wasn't ideal for its Annual Fly-In event in Columbia County.

"We raised a couple of pigs. We have it butchered and smoked for 'em," explained Airport President Bob Brewington. "And then we serve 600-700 meals during this fly-in, and hopefully, if the weather would have been better, you'd have seen 150 planes."

Brewington said it started with a close call for one pilot.

"They took off, and they must have had some engine trouble and tried to turn back and it just ran out of power.  It's just, once you lose lift your plane is coming down. He wasn't going fast enough, and it just came down," added Brewington.

Brewington tells Newswatch 16 the pilot was conscious and speaking before he was taken to the hospital in a helicopter with leg injuries. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the official cause of the crash.

"Thank God, that's all it was, you know, in this case, lost the aircraft that's always sad and expensive, but I hope it's a good turnout for 'em," said Vince Castellano of Berwick.

The plane was cleaned up and then it was time for the event, but neither the crash nor the rain was enough to keep people from coming out to support.

"Oh, we come every year," said Donna Reed. "We were camping at Wellsboro and came for two hours about 110 miles just for this meal. It's that good. Oh, pork is wonderful. And they have the red potatoes boiled and all the homemade desserts and just everything's wonderful."

This event was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, and attendees say they're happy it made a comeback.

BENTON, COLUMBIA COUNTY, Pennsylvania — Federal officials are investigating the cause of a small plane crash early this morning in Columbia County.

The Benton Fire Chief tells FOX 56 it happened at the at the Benton Airport on the northern end just before 9 a.m. during its annual Fly-In event.

We're told that the Federal Aviation Administration has been called in and are looking for an official cause of the crash.

There is no word on the pilot’s condition at this time.

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